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^HE volumes of the University of Michigan 
Studies are published by authority of the 
Executive Board of the Graduate School 
of the University of Michigan. A list 
of the volumes thus far published or ar^ 
ranged for is given at the end of this volume. 








MACMILLAN ft CO., Limitbd 




Portrait i>f Sten" in the 1*itti Palace. 















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The task of preparing this translation of Steno's Prodromus has 
been lightened by the generous help of several of my colleagues in 
the University of Michigan. To Professor W. H. Hobbs I am 
indebted for suggesting the work and for reading the entire manu- 
script, as well as for contributing a Foreword, Professor E. H. 
Kraus read in manuscript the- section dealing with crystallography, 
and Professor E. C. Case gave helpful suggestions in questions of 
palaeontology. A point in physics was clarified by Professor W. D. 

To Professor J. B. Wood worth, of Harvard University, my 
thanks are due for permission to reprint the section entitled The 
Interpreter to the Reader from his copy of the H. O. version, and 
for verifying certain references. Mr. Bern hard Berenson, of Florence, 
kindly furnished photographs of the portrait of Steno in the Pitti 
Palace, and of Duke Ferdinand H in the Uffizi. Dr. Fr. C. C. 
Hansen, of the University of Copenhagen, generously sent a photo- 
graph of the portrait of Steno as Vicar of Schwerin. But from the 
editorial side my greatest debt, and one I have especial pleasure in 
acknowledging, is to Dr. Vilhelm Maar, of the University of Copen- 
hagen, whose scholarly edition of Steno's Opera Philosophica has 
been of invaluable service. In addition to furnishing photographs 
of the portraits of Steno, Dr. Maar has given me, by letter, not only 
much information, but also warm encouragement. 

The recent publication of a facsimile edition of the Prodromus, 
by W. Junk (Berlin, 1904), and of the text, by V. Maar (Copen- 
hagen, 1910), has obviated the necessity of presenting the Latin 
text in connection with this translation. 

I am under much obligation to Mr. William H. Murphy, of 
Detroit, whose generosity has made possible this publication in the 
Humanistic Series. 


Ann Arbor, Michigan, 
March 15, 1916. 



Foreword 169 

Introduction : 

I. Life of Steno 175 

II. The Writings of Steno 188 

III. Bibliography of the Prodromus 194 

IV. Selected References 202 

Translation of the Prodromus with Explanatory Notes . 205 

Attestations 271 

Explanation of the Figures 272 

Index 277 

V. Portrait of Steno in the Pitti Palace . Frontispiece 


VI. Portrait of Steno as Vicar of Schwerin 184 

VII. Reproduction of Original Title Page 194 

VIII. Reproduction of First Page 196 

IX. Reproduction of Steno's Figures, 1-13 272 

X. Reproduction of Steno's Figures, 14-19 274 

XL Reproduction of Steno's Figures, 20-25 276 


Reproduction of Tailpiece (p. 76 of Original Edition published at Florence 

in 1669) ............. 270 


The Science of the Prodromus of Nicolaus Steno 

In reading the Prodromus of Nicolaus Steno one should remember 
that the essay was written near the middle of the seventeenth century, 
when scientific observation was hardly thought of. All knowledge 
concerning the causes of natural phenomena was generally supposed 
to have been given by God directly to man, and the message was 
strictly guarded by the church. Giordano Bruno, who denied that 
there had been a universal deluge, and who had brought forward 
evidence that a change had taken place in the distribution of land 
and sea, was burned at the stake for heresy. More than a century 
later, and a half a century after Steno wrote, de Maillet, in order to 
express his conviction that the rocks of the earth were marine deposits, 
thought it necessary to disguise his name in the anagram Telliamed 
and to allow his views to be published only after his death. 

In view of these conditions Steno's Prodromus is remarkable for 
its generally untrammelled reasoning, although the concluding pages 
of the essay are given over to a somewhat labored effort to prove 
that his views are not incompatible with Scripture, and that the 
written word has supplemented his observation. It seems doubtful, 
however, that he would have escaped persecution had he not been a 
devout Catholic and, moreover, under the protection of a powerful 
prince, the Grand Duke Ferdinand II. Some indication of the 
atmosphere of Florence in Steno's time may be gained from Vin- 
centius Viviani's certificate appended to the Prodromus and approving 
it for publication, " since I have recognized in it a perfectly sincere 
manifestation of the Catholic faith and of good morals, as in the very 
candid author, I have thought the same worthy of being entrusted 
to type" (p. 271). 

Steno is the pioneer of the observational methods which dominate 
in modern science, but he was destined to pass away and be almost 
forgotten before the methods which he used were to be adopted by 
students of science. If we except Leonardo da Vinci, who like Steno 
was a Florentine by adoption and who antedated him by a century 



and a half, there was no writer upon natural science before the 
eighteenth century that in accuracy of observation, in cogency of 
reasoning, or in discrimination of judgment might be compared with 
the "learned Dane." In some measure Steno reflected, of course, 
the crude notions of his time. Thus we find him adopting, though 
apparently with some reserve, the doctrine of the four elements, fire, 
earth, air, and water. In the main, however, if we exclude the prolix 
introduction addressed " to the Most Serene Grand Duke " and the 
weak conclusion intended to prove the orthodoxy of his position, the 
Prodromus with but moderate changes may be made to harmonize 
with the science of the twentieth century. We must attribute it 
largely to the closeness of his observation of Nature and to his dis- 
criminating judgment, that Steno was not lured into wild speculations, 
as were so many in his time. One of his statements might well be 
printed in large letters and placed upon the walls of our laboratories 
and lecture rooms, as a warning to those who undertake scientific 
investigation. " The nurse of doubts," says Steno, " seems to me to 
be the fact that in the consideration of questions relating to nature 
those points which cannot be definitely determined, are not dis- 
tinguished from those which can be settled with certainty" (p. 213). 
How much trouble would be saved if to-day scholars had this point 
oftener in mind ! 

The form of Steno's essay is geometrical, and this is responsible 
for the almost unintelligible title and the correlation of subjects which, 
interpreted in the elaborate differentiation of twentieth century 
science, appear somewhat incongruous. As stated in the introduction, 
the Prodromus is divided into four parts. The first of these contains 
among other things an inquiry into the origin of fossils. The second 
part is stated to be : " Given a substance possessed of a certain figure, 
and produced according to the laws of nature, to find in the substance 
itself evidences disclosing the place and manner of its production." 
In like geometrical form the third part discusses solids which are con- 
tained within solids. The concluding portion of the essay is largely 
a consideration of the prehistoric geological changes which Steno 
was able to read in the rocks of Tuscany. 

The broad outlines of the Cartesian conception of matter were 
adopted by Steno, who regarded a natural body as an aggregate of 
imperceptible particles subject to the action of forces such as proceed 
from a magnet, from fire, or sometimes from light. A fluid differed 


from a solid in having its particles in constant motion and with- 
drawing from their neighbors, that is to say, changing their relative 

Some of Steno's greatest contributions to science lie in the field 
of crystallography, for he studied the growth of crystals and showed 
that those formed in the mountains must have developed in the 
same manner as crystals of niter separating from solutions in water. 
These grow, he said, by accretions of substance upon the surface of 
the crystal nucleus, and not as do plants and animals. 

The prevalent columnar form of crystals and the variation of their 
habit through the occurrence of faces of variable size, Steno ex- 
plained by the addition of substance on certain sides only of the 
growing crystal. The force which draws the substance out of the 
surrounding fluid he recognized to be inherent in the crystal itself, 
and this crystallizing force he happily likened to what we should 
to-day call the lines of force about a magnet. 

It is hardly to be expected that, great as Steno was, he should in 
his day have discovered the important fact of the orientation of the 
molecules of crystals, but he did point to the striking peculiarity of 
light refraction that distinguishes the crystal from amorphous sub- 
stances, such as glass. Steno was, however, the discoverer of the 
fundamental law of crystallography known as the law of constancy 
of interfacial angles. As usually stated, this law affirms that no 
matter how much the faces of a crystal m.ay vary in their size or 
shape, the interfacial angles remain constant, provided they are 
measured at the same temperature. The absolutely empirical veri- 
fication of this law was delayed until the invention of the reflecting 
goniometer in 1805. Barring the refinement of temperature varia- 
tions, it was amply verified by Rome de Tlsle with the simple goni- 
ometer which he invented in 1783. It is clear, however, that Steno 
more than a century earlier fully grasped the principle of the law, 
and gave it some sort of crude experimental verification. In the 
explanation of his figures, Steno says (p. 272): 

" Figures 5 and 6 belong to the class of those crystals which I 
could present in countless numbers to prove that in the plane of the 
axis both the number and the length of the sides are changed in 
various ways without changing the angles." 

As a corollary to his deductions concerning the growth of crystals, 
Steno showed that so-called " phantom crystals " are no product of 


the action of the larger crystal, but existed first and were enveloped 
through continued growth of the crystal nucleus. 

In the realm of geology we owe to Steno the first clear enuncia- 
tion of some of those great principles which to-day we assume to be 
axiomatic only because so much has been built upon them as a 
foundation. That rocks in the main result from sedimentation in 
water is thus expressed in the Prodromus (p. 219): 

" The strata of the earth, as regards the manner and place of pro- 
duction, agree with those strata which turbid water deposits." 

The reasons for this belief are most cogent : " The strata of the 
earth are due to the deposits of a fluid, (i) because the comminuted 
matter of the strata could not have been reduced to that form 
unless, having been mixed with some fluid and then falling from its 
own weight, it had been spread out by the movement of the same 
superincumbent fluid; (2) because the larger bodies contained in 
these same strata obey, for the most part, the laws of gravity, not 
only with respect to the position of any substance by itself, but also 
with respect to the relative position of different bodies to each 
other" (p. 227). 

It is further clearly shown how marine deposits may be distin- 
guished by their character from those deposits which are laid down 
in fresh water upon the continents, as well as from the ejectamenta 
of volcanoes. The origin of variation in the character of strata from 
place to place, and of the alternation of layers of different characters, 
are all discussed with a clear understanding of the actual conditions. 
The great principle that the order of superposition of beds deter- 
mines the age of formations, is given its first expression (p. 230) : 

" At the time when any given stratum was being formed, all the 
matter resting upon it was fluid, and, therefore, at the time the 
lowest stratum was being formed, none of the upper strata existed." 

Likewise it is pointed out that sedimentary formations were either 
laid down in definite basins of deposition or were universal in their 
extent. The original horizontality of sedimentary formations is now 
regarded as one of the great fundamental principles of geology. 
Steno says of the strata " that the upper surface was parallel to 
the horizon, so far as possible ; and that all strata, therefore, except the 
lowest, were bounded by two planes parallel to the horizon. Hence 
it follows that strata either perpendicular to the horizon or inclined 
toward it, were at another time parallel to the horizon " (p. 230). 


If strata are no longer in a horizontal position, it indicates, says 
Steno, subsequent disturbance of them ; and this may be due either 
to uplift "by violent thrusting up of the strata," or "spontaneous 
slipping or downfall of the upper strata after they have begun to 
form cracks, in consequence of the withdrawal of the underlying 
substance, or foundation " (p. 231). 

These changes in position of the strata are according to Steno 
the chief cause of mountains, and he pretty clearly distinguishes 
three of the more important mountain types; namely, (i) block or 
fault mountains, (2) volcanic mountains, and (3) mountains of ero- 
sion. The relation of earthquakes to the formation of mountains is 
indicated with a much nearer approach to present beliefs than is to 
be found in any save Robert Hooke and comparatively recent 

The fissures which form in the strata were recognized by Steno to 
be the passageways or channels for the movement of underground 
water, and for subterranean gases as well. These crevices are thus 
the places where veins of mineral are formed. The storehouses of 
the precious metals being brought about by natural processes, the 
foolishness of those who employ the divining rod for the locating of 
them is pointed out. An imperfect notion of the manner of replace- 
ment of one mineral by another seems to have been gained by Steno >^ 
from his studies. * 

In the description of the figures — a most important part of the 
essay — a clear conception is revealed of the relative order of age of 
strata, of the alternation of transgression and recession of the sea 
over the same places, and of the nature of a structural unconformity, 
whereby one set of strata comes to overlie another from which it 
differs in its lesser angle of inclination. Here Steno gives us the 
results of his careful field observations in the vicinity of Florence. 
His figures may, therefore, be regarded as the earliest geological 
sections ever prepared. 

Over the origin of fossils war had long been waged in Steno's 
time. Like Leonardo, a century and a half before, Steno declared 
that fossils were petrified remains of plants and animals which had 
once existed. 

Steno's activity in biological studies is brought out in his elaborate 
examination of the structure of the shells of mollusks. His descrip- 
tion of the subdivisions of the shells and the division of these into 


filaments, and of the various surfaces formed by the aggregation of 
these filaments, is suggestive of the methods of modem histological 
science. He shows that the substance of the filaments is developed 
from a fluid exuded through the outer surface of the animal. The 
structure of pearls, and their relation to the growing moUusks, is 
discussed at considerable length. 

In treating the length of geological time, Steno was clearly ham- 
pered by the church doctrine of the time, to which he himself sub- 
scribed. Accepting as correct the Usher chronology of the 
Scriptures and the Noachian conception of the universal deluge, it is 
small wonder that Steno fell into error in evaluating geological time. 
" There are those," he said, " to whom the great length of time seems 
to destroy the force of the remaining arguments, since the recollec- 
tion of no age affirms that floods rose to the place where many 
marine objects are found to-day, if you exclude the universal deluge, 
four thousand years, more or less, before our time" (p. 258). He 
thinks it possible to affirm that the shells dug from the hill on 
which Volterra was built, were formed more than three thousand 
years ago. The remains of elephants and extinct animals which 
were found in the valley of the Amo, and which we now know 
crossed from Africa on a land bridge in Tertiary times, Steno was 
forced to regard as the mired pack animals which had been brought 
by Hannibal's army on its way to besiege Rome. 

Now that the Latin text of Steno's work has become available 
through republication, it seems opporturie to make his argument 
accessible in English, and it is believed that Dr. Winter's rendering 
of the learned Dane's Prodromus, with annotations and with a 
brief account of his life and writings, will be welcomed by students 
of natural science. 

Wm. Herbert Hobbs. 

Ann Arbor, Michigan, 
February, 1916. 



NicoLAUs Steno/ the son of a goldsmith, Steen Pedersen, was 
born in Copenhagen, January lo, 1638.^ 

* From early childhood/ he wrote in 1680,* *the association with 
those of my own age had little charm for me. For I was constantly 
in poor health from my third to my sixth year, and was accordingly 
under the continual care of my parents and older friends. As a 
result, I grew to prefer the conversation of older people, especially 
when they spoke of religion, to the frivolous chatter of younger 
companions. In my journeys, also, I kept away, as much as pos- 
sible, from idle and dangerous people and sought friendship with 
those who had won repute through their upright life or their 

After acquiring a thorough training in ancient and modern 
languages and mathematics in the grammar school of his native 
city, Steno entered its University in 1656, where he took up the 
study of medicine and had among his instructors the distinguished 
scientists Thomas Bartholin, Borrichius (Ole Borch), and Simon 

^ Niels Steensen, the Danish form of the name, in accordance with the learned custom of 
his day was Latinized by its bearer as Nicolaus Stenonis. The current form, Steno, is due to 
the mistaken idea that Stenonis was a genitive case. The spelling in French is St^non and 
in Italian Stenone. Cf. Vilhelm Maar, Nicolai Stenonis Opera Philosophica (2 vols., Copen- 
hagen, 1910), Vol. I, p. I, note I. According to custom, Steno took his surname from his 
fiither^s given name ; see Plenkers, Der Dane Niels Stensen, Ein Lebensbild (Freiburg im Br., 
1884), p. 3, note I . 

The sources of Steno's life, consisting chiefly of letters and unpublished manuscripts, are 
given by Plenkers, op, cit.y pp. v, vi. To Plenkers, Wichfeld (Erindringer am den danske 
Videnskabsmand Niels Stensen in Historisk Tidsskrift, 3 Raekke, 4 Bind, Kj0benhavn, 1865, 
pp. 1-109) and Maar (Vol. I, pp. i-xi) I am chiefly indebted for the biographical material 
here given. 

^ The Encyclopadia Britannica^ in its eleventh edition, presents an inadequate biography 
of Steno in seventeen lines, and incorrectly gives 1631 as the date of his birth. The ninth 
edition contains no biographical notice. The error appears also in the account by Ch^reau 
in the Dictionnaire Encyclopedique des Sciences Midicales (Troisi^me S^rie, Tome Onzi^me, 
Paris, 1883, pp. 689-691), in which January i, 1631, is given as the date. 

* Defensio et plenior elucidatio epistolae de propria conversione, Hannover, pp. 18, 19; 
quoted by Plenkers, Niels Stensen, pp. 3, 4. 



Paulli. In all probability he took no degree/ for the times were 
troublous, and Steno, like other students, helped defend Copenhagen 
during its siege by Carl Gustav, king of Sweden. 

In 1660 Steno went to Amsterdam to continue his studies and 
was warmly received by Gerard Blaes, the anatomist, to whom he 
had been recommended by Bartholin. His stay of four months in 
Amsterdam was made memorable by the discovery on April 7, 1660, 
of the parotid duct, which is still known as the ductus Stenonianus? 
Blaes, however, claimed the discovery for his own, and a warm con- 
troversy ensued, in which Steno defended himself with ability and 
dignity. On April 22, 1661, Steno wrote to Thomas Bartholin 
from Ley den : ^ 

* Since you urge me in your letter to publish an account of the 
exterior salivary duct, I am constrained to explain to you briefly the 
envy which this bit of a discovery {inventiuncula) has won for me, 
and also the result of this envy; not with the purpose of seeking 
fame in trifles,* but in order to free myself from the hateful charge 
of stealing what does not belong to me. For I am sorry that the 
necessity has been laid upon me of being forced to say much upon a 
subject of no importance, or else to submit to the base brand of 
shame. A due consideration of the matter will show that it is not 
worth making much ado about. For a similar duct^ had been pre- 
viously discovered, and even the very duct in question had been 
observed by Casserius^ although he called it a muscle. . . • Since, 
however, the charge imputed to me by reason of that duct does not 

^ Wichfeld, op* cii.j p. 6, says that Steno went to Amsterdam in 1660 as **Dr. physices." 
He is followed by de Angelis in Biographic UniverselU (Michaud ; NomMe Edition, Tome 
Quarantilfne, p. 209), by Ch^reau in the Dictionnaire Encyclopidique des Sciences Midicales 
(p. 689), and by Hughes in Nature (Vol. 25, 1882, p. 484). Plenkers {ATiels Stensen^ p* ii« 
note 5) gives good evidence for believing that no degree had been conferred, and Maar {Opera 
Philosophical Vol. I, p. ii) implies as much. 

^ It appears that the parotid duct was obser\'ed independently by Needham in 1655, ^^^ 
his results were not published until 1667 (Maar, op, cit.. Vol. I, p. iii). Steno^s treatise bears 
the following title and date : De Glandulis Oris et Novis Inde Prodeuntibus Salivae Vasis, 
Lugd. Batav. Anno 1661. It is printed by Maar, op, cit,, Vol. I, pp. 9-51. 

• De Prima Ductus Salivalis Exterioris Invent ione et Bilsianis ExperimentiSj Lugd. Batav. 
Ao (anno) 1661, 22 ap. (Aprilis). Printed by Maar, op. cit». Vol. I, pp. 1-7. 

^ In mustaceo laureolam guaeram means literally * look for a laurel-wreath in a cake.^ 
Cicero uses the proverb in writing to his friend Atticus, V. 20, 4. 

• Ductus IVhartonianus, for which see Adenographia . . . Auctore Thoma IVhartono, Lon- 
don, 1656, c. XXI, p. 129; Maar, op, cit.. Vol. I, p. 222. 

• De Vocis Auditusque Organis Historia Anatomica, Ferrara, 1600, tab. V, p. 27, d, ac- 
cording to Maar, op, cit,^ Vol. I, p. 222. 


permit me to keep silent, I shall tell you the entire affair, as pupil to 
preceptor, and shall leave the decision to your judgment. . . . 

* It is a year now since I was hospitably received by Blaes. After 
waiting three weeks for a chance to secure anatomical material, I 
asked the distinguished man whether I might be permitted to dis- 
sect with my own hand such material as I could buy for myself. 
He gave his consent, and fortune so favored me that in the first 
sheep's head, which I had bought on April 7 and was dissecting 
alone in my room, I found a duct which, so far as I knew, had been 
described by no one before. I had removed the skin and was pre- 
paring to dissect the brain when I decided to examine first the 
ducts. With this end in view I was exploring the courses of the 
veins and arteries when I noticed that the point of my knife was no 
longer closely confined between tissues but moved freely in a large 
cavity, and presently I heard the teeth themselves resound, as I 
thrust my knife forward. 

' In amazement at the discovery I called in my host (Blaes) that I 
might hear his opinion. First he ascribed the sound to the violence 
of my thrust, then resorted to calling it a freak of Nature, and finally 
referred to Wharton.^ But inasmuch as that did not help, and the 
ducts, which had been handled carelessly, allowed no further inves- 
tigation, I decided to examine them another time more carefully. I 
succeeded, although not so well, a few days later with a dog's head. 
Since its affinity to the inferior duct indicated the function of the 
one I had found, I told Jacob Henry PauUi, my intimate friend, that 
I had discovered a salivary duct, and I added a description of it. 
But since I knew that something like it had been discovered before 
and could not determine whether this identical duct had been ex- 
amined, I remained silent until I could find opportunity to consult 
Sylvius about it. After he had heard my account he determined to 
seek the duct in man, and having found it he demonstrated it to 
spectators on several occasions.' ^ 

Steno then proceeds to show that Blaes's brother, who was in 
Amsterdam at the time and was thoroughly conversant with the 
discovery, had accredited it to Steno in letters to Eysson, Professor 

' See p. 176, note 5. 

* Maar, op. cit,<, Vol. I, pp. 3-5. For a convenient description of the duct and the relation 
of Steno^s work to that of Richard Hale see de Angelis, Biof^aphie UniverselU (Michaud), 
NauveUe Edition^ Tome Quarantiime, p. 209. 


at Groningen. And furthermore, while Blaes mentioned the duct in 
his Medicina Generalise which appeared in 1661, a year after the dis- 
covery, he could account for neither the beginning nor the end of 
the duct.^ 

Meanwhile Steno had gone to Leyden, where he remained from 
1660-1664. Here he worked under van Home, the surgeon, and 
Franciscus de la Boe Sylvius, the distinguished anatomist who dis- 
covered the Sylvian aqueduct. Among his intimate friends were 
men of widely differing attainments. The brilliant young Dane 
seems, in fact, to have had a genius for friendship. No fellowship 
could fail to stimulate reflection which included such men as Jan 
Swammerdam, the naturalist, whom Steno had previously known at 
Amsterdam; Borrichius, his old teacher, who had come from 
Copenhagen ; Matthias Jacobaeus, Professor at Copenhagen, and 
later Bishop of Aarhus in Jutland; Peter Schumacher, who later 
became Count Griffenfeldt and High Chancellor of Denmark; 
Jacob Golias, Professor of Arabic at Leyden, and Baruch Spinoza, 
the philosopher, who was then living at Rijnsburg, a suburb of 
Leyden. But great as the influence of these men was, it was, 
perhaps, less telling for his subsequent spiritual development than 
the religious tolerance which Holland alone of European coun- 
tries then afiforded.^ 

While pursuing his anatomical studies in Leyden, Steno learned 
of the death of his step-father,^ and thereupon returned to his native 
city. Disappointed in his expectation of gaining a professorship, 
Steno set out in the same year, 1664, for Paris, where he and 
Swammerdam lived with the naturalist Thevenot It was in the 
latter's house that Steno delivered his discourse on the anatomy of 
the brain.* This treatise shares with the Prodromus the virtues of 

* Maar, op. ctt.y Vol. I, p. 223; Plenkers, Niels Stensen^ pp. 12-14, and Wichfdd, Erin- 
dringer om Niels Stensen, pp. 7, 8. 

* Maar, Opera Philosophical Vol. I, pp. iv-v. 

' Steno^s father died in 1644, and his mother, Anna Nilsdatter, had contracted a second 
marriage with Johannes Stichman. Her death followed closely upon that of the latter. See 
Plenkers, Niels Stensen^ pp. 3, 22, 25. 

^ Discours sur Panatomie du cerveait, first printed in Paris in 1669; it is reprinted by 
Maar, op, cit.y Vol. II, pp. 3-35. 

Jacques B^nigne Winslow, a grand-nephew of Steno, and himself a scientist of note, was 
so impressed by the treatise that he printed it in full in his Exposition Anatomique (Paris, 
1732), pp. 641-659. The preface of the work closes with this remarkable acknowledgment: 

'*Je finis en avertissant avec une sincere reconnoissance, que le seul Discours de feu 
M. Stenon sur PAnatomie du Cerveau, a ^t^ la source primitive et le modele general de toute 


lucidity and scientific objectivity. At a time when fantastic meta- 
physics were rife, Steno trusted only to induction based upon experi- 
ment and observation. Combating the theories of Descartes and 
Willis in particular, the author prefaces his discourse with the 
candid admission : 

" Au lieu de vous promettre de contenter vostre curiosite, 
touchant TAnatomie du Cerveau; ie vous fais icy une confession 
sincere et publique, que ie n y connois rien. Ie souhaiterois de tout 
mon coeur, d'estre Ie seul qui fust oblige ^ parler de la sorte ; car ie 
pourrois profiter auec Ie temps de la connoissance des autres, et ce 
seroit un grand bon-heur pour Ie genre humain, si cette partie, qui 
est la plus delicate de toutes, et qui est sujette h des maladies tres- 
frequentes, et tres-dangereuses, estoit aussi bien connue, que beau- 
coup de Philosophes et d'Anatomistes se Timaginent. II y en a peu 
qui imitent Tingenuit^ de Monsieur Sylvius, qui n'en parle qu'en 
doutant, quoy qu'il y ait travaille plus que personne que ie con- 
noisse. Le nombre de ceux ^ qui rien ne donne de la peine, est 
infailliblement le plus grand. Ces gens qui ont Taffirmative 
si prompte, vous donneront Thistoire du cerveau, et la disposi- 
tion de ses parties, avec la mesme asseurance, que s'ils avoient 
est6 presens i la composition de cette merveilleuse machine, et 
que s'ils avoient penetr^ dans tous les desseins de son grand 
Architecte." ^ 

Paris, however, did not hold Steno long. In the summer of 1665 
we find him in Florence,^ where he was soon attached to the court 
of the Grand Duke Ferdinand 11. Upon the recommendation of 
Th^venot and Viviani, Steno was appointed physician to the Grand 
Duke, with a house and pension. He was also given a position 
in the hospital of Santa Maria Nuova. This patronage, gratefully 
acknowledged in the present treatise, and the opportunity for travel 

ma conduite dans les travaux Anatomiques. Je Tai insert dans le Traits de la T^te, croyant 
£aire plaisir au Public de lui communiquer de nouveau cette Piece, qui ^toit devenue rare, et 
qui renienne beaucoup d'excellens avis, tant pour ^viter le faux et Pimaginaire, que pour 
d^couvrir le vrai et le rdel, non seulement par rapport k la structure et aux usages des parties, 
mais aussi par rapport k la maniere de ^re les Dissections et les Figures Anatomiques.** 

The first and only complete edition of D Autobiographie de Jacques Binigne Winshw is 
that of Maar, Copenhagen, 191 2. I am indebted to it for the foregoing passage, p. xxiv. 

* Maar, Opera Philosophical Vol. II, p. 3. 

• I have followed Maar, Opera Philosophical Vol. I, p. vi. Plenkers, Niels Stensen^ p. 30, 
and Wichfeld, Erindringer om Niels Stensen^ p. 17, give 1666 as the date of Steno^s arrival in 


which his position at court afforded him, made possible Steno's 
scientific researches. 

Now followed the happiest and most productive period of Steno's 
life. Ferdinand II, although a weak prince, was a generous patron 
of art and science. The Accademia del Cimento, founded in 1657 
by Leopold de' Medici, the brother of Ferdinand, was the center 
of a learned group including Vincenzo Viviani, the pupil and 
biographer of Galileo, Francesco Redi, poet and naturalist, Carlo 
Dati, the scientist, and Lorenzo Magalotti, the versatile secretary 
of the society. * I have the honor,' Redi wrote to Athanasius 
Kircher,* * to serve at a court where distinguished men gather from 
all parts of the world. In their wanderings they bring and seek 
in exchange the fruits of high endeavor, and so warm is their 
welcome that they fancy themselves transported to the mythical 
gardens of the Odyssey.' 

Through the influence of Maria Flavia del Nero, a nun who had 
long been in charge of the apothecary connected with Santa Maria 
Nuova, also Lavinia Felice Cenanni Arnolfini, the wife of the 
ambassador from Lucca, and Emilio Savignani, a Jesuit priest, 
Steno was induced to embrace Catholicism. He was deeply reli- 
gious by nature, and there can be no question about the sincerity 
of his conversion. His seriousness as a lad, and the impression 
made upon him by the religious tolerance in Holland, have been 
mentioned. Furthermore, since meeting the eloquent Bossuet in 
Paris he had been pondering deeply the question of Catholicism 
versus Protestantism.* He was finally received into the Church, 
December 8, 1667. Five days later Viviani wrote to Magalotti, who 
was then in Flanders : 

'My very dear friend, N. Steno, who lacked only this to make 
him adorable, so to say, has turned back to life on the day of the 
dead,^ in that he has confessed the Catholic faith. His decision to 
take the final step gave great joy to His Highness (Ferdinand II) 
and all his friends. On the day of the Immaculate Conception, 

* Quoted by Plenkers, NieU Stensen, p. 31. 

* The question of Steno^s conversion is treated at length by Plenkers {Niels Stensen, 
pp. 36-50), who includes in his account many of the letters that passed between Steno and 
his friends. The reasons which induced Steno to take this step were set forth by him in 
Epistola de propria conversione (Florence, 1677) and Defensio et pUniar elucidatio epistoku 
de propria conversione (Hannover, 1680). 

* All Souls^ Day, November 2, is Giorno de^Morti in Italian. 


after he had finally declared his conversion before the Nuntius also, 
he received a letter from his King, which he called an invitation, 
with the command to return as soon as possible. An annual pen- 
sion of four hundred scudi was promised him from the day of his 
departure. There are no further stipulations, and he can expect an 
increase of this amount. Still, he is unwilling to begin the journey 
until he has learned whether His Majesty will support him in this 
way in spite of his change of belief. Inasmuch as we cannot hope 
that this will be the case, we have the prospect of keeping him 
with us.' ^ 

According to Blondel ^ Steno wrote to Frederik III informing him 
of his change of belief. While these negotiations were in progress 
Steno composed his Prodromus^ (1668). The original plan of writ- 
ing the treatise in Italian was given up in favor of Latin, and when 
the remarkable essay appeared it was under the title Nicolai Stenonis 
De Solido Intra Soltdum Naturaliter Contento Dissertationis Pro- 
dromus. It was printed at Florence, in 1669, with the full sanction 
of the papal authorities, among whom were his influential friends, 
Redi and Viviani. 

The Prodromus was intended as a preliminary statement of prin- 
ciples which the author expected to elaborate more fully in a later, 
comprehensive work, which is referred to throughout as the Disserta- 
tion. The larger work, however, never appeared, probably because 

* Quoted by Plenkers, Mels Stenseny p. 51. This order of Frederik III, dated 19 October, 
1667, is still preserved in Copenhagen. Compare op, cH., note i. 

^Les Viss des saints pour chaquejour de tannie, Paris, 1722, p. 738. 

*The use of the word Prodromus to designate a treatise preliminary to a larger work is not 
found in classical Latin. The N'ew Oxford Dictionary amply illustrates its occurrence in 
English, but the examples are from works subsequent to Steno^s time. Francis Bacon (1561- 
1626) employs the word in the Instauratio Magna, Prodromi sive Anticipationes Philosophiae 
Secundae (edition of Spedding, Ellis, and Heath, Vol. V, p. 182). Larousse, s.v. Prodrome^ 
not only gives the best definition of the word as used by Steno, but also cites an excellent 
example of a writer whose accomplishment, like Steno's, fell short of his original expectation : 

" Cc mot a ^t^ employ^ pour designer une preface, une introduction, un discourse pr^limi- 
naire ; mais, dans sa signification la plus gdn^ralement acceptde, il est le titre m^me d'un 
ouvrage destine a preparer d^autres Merits dont il donne Tid^e et auxquels il prdpare le lecture. 
II a ^t^ &it des livres de ce genre sur les mati^res thdologiques et philosophiques. II en 
existe aussi qui sont relatife aux sciences exactes et naturelles. L'un des plus remarquables 
est celui que Candolle a public sous ce titre : Prodrome du syst^me du regne v^g^tal (Paris, 
1824 et suiv. in 8^). Ce c^l^bre botaniste avait d'abord con^u le plan d'un ouvrage extreme- 
ment vaste, quil intitula: Syst^me naturel du r^gne v^g^tal, et dont il fit paraltre deux volumes 
(1818-1821, in 8^) ; mais, comprenant que la vie d^un homme ne se suffirait pas k remplir ce 
plan, il y renon9a et fit son Prodrome, recueil d^jk fort vaste, pr^sentant le repertoire des 
ordres, des genres, des esp^ces du r^gne v^g^tal, et qu'il ne put terminer.''^ 



Steno's interest in geology had meanwhile given way to his interest 
in theology.^ Brief as it is, the Prodromus remains one of the most 
noteworthy contributions to the science of geology, and especially 
the geology of Italy. Steno's habits of observation, analysis, and in- 
duction resulted in an enlightened exposition of geology considered 
from the petrological, palaeontological, and stratigraphical point of 
view, at a time when many of his contemporaries were still satisfied 
with some of the absurdities of metaphysical speculation.^ Steno's 
work, von Zittel remarks,^ " already contained the kernel of much 
that has been under constant discussion during the two centuries 
which have passed since his death ; and if one reads the most recent 
text-books of geology, it will be evident that science has not yet se- 
curely ascertained the share that is to be assigned to subsidence, to 
upheaval, to erosion, and to volcanic action in the history of the 
earth's surface conformation in different regions." 

The journey to Denmark was not undertaken until a year after 
Steno's conversion, and then by a circuitous route. After visiting 
Rome, Naples, and Murano, he reached Innsbruck in May, 1669, 
Vienna and Prague in the late summer of the same year, and finally 
Amsterdam in the spring of 1670. Meanwhile Frederik III had 
died February 2, 1670, and Steno remained in Holland. Upon 
learning of the serious illness of his patron Ferdinand II he departed 
at once for Florence. When he arrived (1670), Cosimo III had al- 
ready succeeded his father as Grand Duke of Tuscany. But the 
change in rulers brought no change in the warmth of Steno's wel- 
come. Under Cosimo he arranged the minerals in the Pitti Palace, 
and continued his studies in geology. 

In the Pitti Palace is a series of portraits of distinguished men 
who were associated with the Court of Ferdinand II and Cosimo III. 

^The Prodromus was Steno's last scientific work of note. After his conversion (cf. p. 180) 
his interest in science rapidly waned. Leibnitz, who came to know and esteem Steno later in 
Hannover, in letters to Conring expresses deep regret that Steno had abandoned his earlier 
studies. Sec Gerhardt, Die philosophischen Schriften von G. W. Leibniz (Vol. I, Berlin, 1875), 
p. 185, and especially p. 193 : ^Stenonium Episcopum doleo nunc a physiologicis studiis averti 
ad theologica vel ideo quia in hisfacilius quam in illis habebit parent,'*'' 

^ A striking instance of this is Kircher's Mundus Subterraneus, Amsterdam, 1665. Com- 
pare Maar, Om Paste Legemer^ Copenhagen, 1902, p. ii ff. 

^History of Geology and PaUeontoiogy, Eng. trans. (London, 1901), p. 27. Compare 
Huxley, Nature^ Vol. 24 (i88i),p. 453 ; A. von Humboldt, Essai Giognostique sur le Gisement 
des Roches dans Us detix Hemispheres (Paris, 1823), p. 38 ; Cosmos^ Eng. trans. (London, 
1852), Vol. 2, pp. 347-348; M. J. P. Flourens, De la LonghnU humaine et de la Quantiti 
de Viesur U Globe (Paris, 1855), pp. 211-215. 


Among these is a portrait of Steno, by an unknown painter, evidently 
made in the period when the Prodromus was composed; this is 
reproduced in our Plate V. 

On the recommendation of Count Griffenfeldt,^ Christian V invited 
Steno to the Professorship of Anatomy in Copenhagen. The royal 
order, dated February 13, 1672, is still preserved in Copenhagen, 
and reads: 

* Know that by special royal grace and favor We have allowed 
you, until further gracious increase, four hundred reichsthaler a year. 
This pension shall date from the time of your arrival here. For it 
is our gracious command and will that you undertake at once your 
journey to our Kingdom of Denmark, in order to be here as soon as 
possible. You will comply in humble obedience.' ^ 

Steno's reply to Count Griflfenfeldt is dated April 26 : 

* I thank your Excellency most humbly for your good will to me 
and wish with all my heart that God may grant me to prove to you, 
one day, my gratitude and willing service. I suppose that your 
Excellency already knows the reason why my answer is so late in 
arriving. For the letters containing the orders of His Royal Majesty 
did not reach Holland until April 3. From there they were for- 
warded to me yesterday, the twenty-fifth of April. I humbly ask 
you therefore to excuse my delay to our most gracious Lord and 
King. This morning I went to the Grand Duke to tell him of the 
command of His Royal Majesty, and I hope to receive leave for my 
final departure within a few days.' ^ 

Steno arrived in Copenhagen July 3, 1672. His notable address 
on the reopening of the Theatrum Anatomicum ^ was as much a 
valedictory as an inaugural, for it marks the close of his scientific 
career. He soon became involved in religious controversies which 
made his tenure so disagreeable that he yearned for the old life at 
Florence. Accordingly, he resigned his position in the summer of 
1674, and set out for Florence, visiting the Catholic Duke of 
Hannover, Johann Friedrich, on the way. Thence he came back to 
Amsterdam before proceeding to Italy. Upon his arrival in Florence, 
late in the year 1674, he was appointed tutor to the son of Cosimo HI, 
and thenceforth gave up natural science, for which his keen powers 

* See p. 178. ^ Quoted by Plenkers, Niels Stensen, p. 91 . 
■Plenkers, op. cit.y p. 91. 

* Printed by Maar, Opera Philosophical Vol. II, pp. 249-256. 


of observation and analysis so admirably fitted him, in order to devote 
himself to questions of education and theology. 

In 1675 Steno took Holy Orders; in the following year (Septem- 
ber 14, 1676), Pope Innocent XI rewarded his zeal in attempting to 
convert his former friends^ and co-religionists by appointing him 
Bishop of Titopolis,^ in partibus infidelium^ and Apostolic Vicar of 
Northern Germany and Scandinavia. In consequence, toward the 
end of 1677, he took up his residence in Hannover. An account 
preserved by Manni^ gives a graphic picture of the austere life 
Steno's devotion now induced him to lead : 

'The prelate lived and dressed as though he were the poorest 
person in the world. His position could only be inferred from his 
ecclesiastical garb, and even this was only serge. For he would not 
take the robes of his predecessor although they were offered to him 
at a low price. And notwithstanding the Duke made him an ample 
allowance to enable him to live as became his rank, he gave everything 
to the poor. For them he sacrificed everything. And he did this 
as long as we knew him. He even gave the gold necklace with a 
medallion containing a portrait of the Duke — he had received it on 
his second return from Denmark to Rome by way of Hannover * — 
to a friend with the injunction that it be bestowed upon the poor. 
When he had nothing else he sold his silver crucifix and costly 
bishop's ring to relieve the distress of others.' 

Upon the death of Johann Friedrich, in 1679, and the accession 
of his Protestant brother, Duke Ernst August, Steno was forced to 
withdraw to Munster. Here he was appointed Suffragan Bishop to 
Ferdinand, Baron von Fiirstenberg, the Bishop of Munster (1680). 
The latter died in 1683, and was succeeded by Archbishop Maxi- 
milian Heinrich. Steno had opposed his election and refused to 
celebrate mass in honor of the event. He therefore withdrew to 
Hamburg, where his self-imposed poverty and his asceticism alienated 
the Catholics themselves. They threatened to cut off his nose 
and ears, to drive him from the city, and even to kill him. In his 

^Plenkers, Niels Stensen (pp. 122, 123), quotes, among other letters, an interesting appeal 
to Spinoza. The latter did not reply. 
^An old bishopric in Isauria. 

• Vita del letteratissimo Mons, N. Stenone (Florence, 1775), p. 229; quoted by Plenkers, 
Niels Stensen^ p. 131. 

* This statement is inexact ; Steno did not go to Denmark in 1670, and in 1674 his objective 
was Florence, not Rome. 

Portrait ov Steno as Viiar of Schwerin. 


trouble he began to long for the peace and friendships of Italy,^ and 
was preparing to return when the missionary post at Schwerin was 
ofifered to him. He accepted it in 1685 as a call to further service. 
But the change meant only increased fasting and abject poverty, 
to which he succumbed November 26, 1686. At the request of 
Cosimo III Steno's body was taken to Florence and laid in the famous 
San Lorenzo. 

The physical change which Steno's self-denial entailed is strikingly 
shown in his portrait as Vicar of Schwerin. The original, by an un- 
known artist, is still in Schwerin. Until recently it was his only 
known portrait. An excellent copy, reproduced in our Plate VI, 
is in possession of the Anatomical Institute of the University of 

On the walls of the cloister of San Lorenzo there is to-day a 
medallion portrait of Steno, surrounded by a marble wreath, with 
the following inscription, in black letters, beneath it ; 


The medallion portrait is by Vincenzo Consani. Plenkers (Niels 
StenseHy p. 88) quotes the inscription, but does not divide it properly 
into lines. My own transcript was made in Florence June 20, 1911. 
The Latinity of the inscription is open to criticism; altiorum in 
line 9 should be altiarum, and the hyphens at the ends of lines 4, 
7, 10, 12 are not in accordance with ancient usage. I add a trans- 
lation : 

^Indicated in the letters to Madame Arnolfini (Plenkers, ATiels Stensen, p. 178). 


* Friend, you behold the likeness of Nicolaus Steno. To it more 
than a thousand men of learning, from all parts of the world, con- 
tributed. They made provision for the carving of it in memory of 
this day, the twenty-eighth of September, in the year 1881, when 
the Geologists, after the Congress at Bologna, under the Presidency 
of Cavaliere Giovanni Capellini, journeyed hither, and in the pres- 
ence of delegates representing the City of Florence and the Royal 
Institute of Higher Studies, in the cloister of this church, as a tes- 
timonial of respect and gratitude honored with a laurel crown a 
man of surpassing distinction among Geologists and Anatomists.' 

The official account of the events recorded in the inscription is 
in itself a commentary of sufficient interest to warrant reprinting 
here, particularly because of its estimate of the value of Steno's 
contribution to geology : ^ 

lis allerent en suite rendre hommage aux restes de Stenon qui 
reposent dans une tombe de plus modestes, dans la crypte souter- 
raine de la chapelle des M6dicis, h San Lorenzo. Les chanoines de 
la Basilique se tenaient, pour les recevoir, au pied de Tescalier qui 
descend dans la cr)rpte. 

L^ M. le president Capellini invita ^ prendre la parole Teminent 
repr^sentant des etudes d'archeologie prehistorique, M. Waldmar 
Schmidt, de Copenhague. Notre savant confrere s'exprima en ces 
termes : 

" Messieurs, Au moment oh les membres du second Congres g6o- 
logique international sont reunis dans la c61ebre eglise de San 
Lorenzo, devant la tombe de Nicolas Stenon, vous permettrez, je 
Tespere, au seul repr&entant du pays ou est ne Stenon, d'exprimer 
au noms de ses compatriotes les plus chaleureux remerciments ^ la 
ville de Florence pour I'hommage qu'elle a rendu ^ leur concitoyen. 

" Comme vous le savez, h une epoque oh les sciences naturelles 
n'^taient pas encore sorties de leur premiere enfance, Nicolas 
Stenon a jete les fondements de la g^ologie ; et par ses etudes, par 
ses observations, par son g^nie perspicace, il est arrive h enoncer, 
sur divers points de la science, des vues dont les g^ologues de notre 
siecle, apr^s tant de nouvelles recherches, ont reconnu Texactitude. 

" Stenon ^tait ne en Danemark et c'est 1^ qu'il fit ses premieres 

^ Congris Giologique International . . . Compte Rendu de la inu Session, Bologne^ 1881, 
pp. 249-251. See also the brief account in Bolletino del R, Comitate Geologico d^ Italia^ vol. 
12 (1881), pp. 379, 380. 


etudes. Mais cest en Italie qu'il a accompli ses merveilleuses 
decouvertes et pos^ les bases de la geologie. II y fut re9u avec 
cette splendide hospitalite qui nous a nous memes accueillis partout 
d'abord ^ Bologne, aujourd'hui ^ Florence. 

" L' Italie fut sa seconde patrie, et ses restes mortels reposent dans 
ce temple magnifique, dans lequel on admire les oeuvres des plus 
grands artistes du monde. 

" Quand Stenon abandonna le Danemark pour venir se fixer dans 
ce beau pays, la science geologique ne deserta pas avec lui la patrie 

" Ne dois-je pas, Messieurs, vous rappeler k cette occasion que si 
le Danemark a eu Stenon, un autre pays scandinave, la Suede, a eu 
Linne. Comme Tun avait etabli les fondaments de la stratigraphie, 
Tautre posa les bases de la geologie physique. . . . Vous me per- 
mettrez done. Messieurs, de joindre k mes remerciments pour la 
ville de Florence et son syndic qui nous ont fait un si magnifique 
accueil, Texpression de ma reconnaissance pour celui qui par un 
beau travail a fait connaitre, je ne dirai pas le nom de Stenon 
qui ^tait dej^ assez connu, mais sa vie, son origine et son pays 
natal: toute ma gratitude h M. Capellini, auteur de la Vie de 
Stenon et president du deuxieme Congres international de geologie 
k Bologne." 

II (Capellini) ajoute que son but etait de faire mieux connaitre 
ce grand homme dont le souvenir doit etre sacr6 pour tous les geo- 
logues, et sur la tombe duquel il est heureux de tendre la main Jt 
M. W. Schmidt, afin de reserrer entre Tltalie et le Danemark les 
liens d afifection que rappelle cette illustree memoire. . . . 

Le soir, le cercle philologique, le cercle des ingenieurs et le club 
alpin ouvrirent gracieusement leur salles aux congressistes. Mais 
avant de se rendre h ces amiables invitations, ils furent convies ^ un 
diner h Thotel Minerva par le president Capellini, et, apres, une 
souscription fut ouverte par ses soins pour placer sur le tombe de 
Stenon une pierre dont Tinscription rappellerait h la fois les glorieux 
titres scientifiques du c^lebre Danois, et la visite faite ^ sa tombe 
par les membres du Congres geologique international. . . . 


Steno's published works may be grouped under three heads: 
Anatomy, Geology, and Theology. The scientific treatises have all 
been reprinted by Maar, Opera Philosophica (2 vols., Copenhagen, 
1910) ; no complete edition of his many interesting letters, and of 
his theological writings, has yet appeared. The following list, 
compiled from Maar and Plenkers, gives the full title of each 
published work, its date, and place of original publication. In the 
case of the scientific treatises references are given also to Maar's 


1. a. Disputatio Anatomica de Glandulis Oris et Nuper Obser- 
vatis inde Prodeuntibus Vasis Prima. Leyden, 1661 (July 6). 

b. Disputatio . . . Secunda, Leyden, 1661 (July 9). 

These two articles appeared together in : 

De Glandulis Oris et Novis earundem Vasis Observationes Ana- 
totnicae. Leyden, 1661. Printed by Maar, Vol. I, pp. 9-51 (Number 


2. Observationes Anatomicae, Quibus Varia Oris, Oculorum, et 
Narium Vasa Describuntur, Novique Salivae, Lacrymarum et Muci 
Pontes Deteguntur, et Novum Nobilissimi Bilsii de Lympha£ Motu 
et Usu Commentum Examinatur et Rejicitur, Leyden, 1662. 

This volume includes four treatises : 

a. De Glandulis Oris, etc., pp. 1-54; a reprint of the two Dis- 
putationes. Maar, Vol. I, pp. 9-51 (No. II). 

b. Responsio ad Vindicias Hepatis Redivivi, Qua Tela, Quae in 
Praesidem Celeberr. Dn. Johannem van Home direxerat Clar. 
Antonius Deusingius, a Thesium Authore Excipiuntur, et Evanida 
Ostenduntur. Pp. 55-78. 

This treatise bears the date 28 November, 1661. Maar, Vol. I, 

pp. 59-73 (No. IV). 



c. De Glandulis Oculorum Novisque earundem Vasts Observa- 
tiones Anatomicae, Quibus Vert Lacrymarum Pontes Deteguntur. 
Pp. 79-100. Maar, Vol. I, pp. 75-90 (No. V). 

d. Appendix de Narium Vasts. Pp. 101-108. Maar, Vol. I, 
pp. 91-97 (No. VI). 

3. Apologiae ProdromuSy Quo Demonstratur^ Judicem Blasianum 
et Ret Anatomicae Imperitum Esse, et Affectuum Suorum Servum, 
Leyden, 1663. Maar, Vol. I; pp. 143-154 (No. XIII). 

4. De Musculis et Glandulis Observationum Specimen Cum 
Epistolis Duabus Anatomicis. Copenhagen, 1664. The De Mus- 
culisy etc., is printed by Maar, Vol. I, pp. 1 61-192 (No. XV). 

The first of the two letters was written to Willem Piso, and is en- 
titled De Anatome Rajae Epistola. Dated April 24, 1664, Copen- 
hagen. Pp. 48-70. Maar, Vol. I, pp. 193-207 (No. XVI). The 
second was written to Paul Barbette, and is entitled De Vitelli in 
Intestina Pulli Transitu Epistola, Dated June 12, 1664, Copen- 
hagen. Pp. 71-84. Maar, Vol. I, pp. 209-218 (No. XVII). 

5. De Prima Ductus Salivalis Exterioris Inventiane, et Bilsianis 
Experimentis. A letter to Thomas Bartholin, dated April 22, 1661, 
Leyden. First printed in Bartholin's Epistolae Medicinae, Cent. 
Ill, 1667, No. XXIV. Maar, Vol. I, pp. 1-7 (No. I). 

6. Variae in Oculis et Naso Observationes Novae. A letter to 
Bartholin, dated September 12, 1661, Leyden. First printed in 
Epist, Med., Cent. Ill, 1667, No. LVII. Maar, Vol. I, pp. 53-58 
(No. III). 

7. Sudorum Origo ex Glandulis. De Insertions et Valvula 
Lcutei Thoracici et Lymphaticorum. A letter to Bartholin, dated 
January 9, 1662, Leyden. First printed in Epist. Med., Cent. Ill, 
1667, No. LXV. Maar, Vol. I, pp. 99-103 (No. VII). 

8. Cur Nicotinae Pulvis Oculos Clariores Reddat. De La^tea 
Gelatina Observatio. A letter to Bartholin, dated May 21, 1662, 
Leyden. First printed in Epist. Med., Cent. IV, 1667, No. I. 
Maar, Vol. I, pp. 105-111 (No. VIII). 

9. Observationes Anatomicae in Avibus et Cuniculis. A letter to 
Bartholin, dated August 26, 1662, Leyden. First printed in Epist. 


Med., Cent IV, 1667, No. XXVI. Maar, Vol. I, pp. 1 13-120 

(No. IX). 

10. De Vesiculis in Pulmone, Anatome Cuniculi Praegnantis, 
In Pulmonibus Expetitnenta. De Lacteis Mammarum. In Cygno 
Observation's. A letter to Bartholin, dated March 5, 1663, Leyden. 
First printed in Epist. Med., Cent. IV, 1667, No. LV. Maar, Vol. 

I, pp. 129-136 (No. XI). 

11. Nova Musculorum et Cordis Fabrica. A letter to Bartholin, 
dated April, 1663, Leyden. First printed in Epist. Med., Cent. IV, 
1667, No. LXX. Maar, Vol. I, pp. 155-160 (No. XIV). 

12. Elementorunt Myologiae Specimen, sen Musculi Descriptio 
Geometrica. Cui Accedunt Canis Carchariae Dissectum Caputs et 
Dissectus Piscis ex Canum Genere. Florence, 1667. 

The Elementorum Myologiae Specimen is printed by Maar, Vol. 

II, pp. 61-111 (No. XXII). The second treatise, entitled Canis 
Carchariae, etc., is printed by Maar, Vol. II, pp. 11 3-145 (No. 
XXIII). The third, Dissectus Piscis, etc., is printed by Maar, Vol. 
II,pp. 147-155 (No. XXIV). 

13. Discours sur V Anatomic du Cerveau. Paris, 1669. Maar, 
Vol. II, pp. 1-35 (No. XVIII). 

14. Figurae Explicatio. Receptaculi Sanguinis Circulus per 
Ventriculorum Cordis Separationem ab Invicem Manifestior Red- 

First printed in Bartholin's Anatome, Quartum Renovata, Leyden, 
1673, pp. 805-807. Maar, Vol. II, pp. 279-282 (No. XXXIII). 

15. Embryo Mofistro Ajffinis Parisiis Dissectus. First printed 
in Acta Hafniensia, Vol. I, 1673, pp. 200-203. Maar, Vol. II, 
PP- 49-53 (No. XX). 

16. Uterus Leporis Proprium Foetum Resolventis. In Acta 
Hafn,, Vol. I, 1673, pp. 203-207. Maar, Vol. II, pp. 55-60 
(No. XXI). 

17. De Vitulo Hydrocephalo. In Acta Hafn., Vol. I, 1673, 
pp. 249-262. Maar, Vol. II, pp. 229-239 (No. XXVIII). 


18. In Ovo et Pullo Observationes. In Acta Hafn.^ Vol. II, 1675, 
pp. 81-92. Maar, Vol. II, pp. 37-47 (No. XIX). 

19. Ex Variorum Animalium Sectionibus hinc inde factis Ex- 
cerpta^ Observationes circa Motum Cordis^ Auricularumque et Venae 
Cavae. In Acta Ha/n.y Vol. II, 1675, pp. 141-147. Maar, Vol. I, 
pp. 1 21-127 (No. X). 

20. Observationes Anatomicae Spectantes Ova Viviparorum. In 
Acta Ha/n., Vol. II, 1675, pp. 210-218. Maar, Vol. II, pp. 157-166 
(No. XXV). 

21. Ova Viviparorum Spectantes Observationes feu: tae Jussu Sere- 
nissimi Magni Ducis Hetruriae. In Acta Ha/n., Vol. II, 1675, 
pp. 219-232. Maar, Vol. II, pp. 167-179 (No. XXVI). 

22. Lymphaticorum Varietas. In Acta Ha/n,, Vol. II, 1675, pp. 
240-241. Maar, Vol. I, pp. 137-142 (No. XII). 

23. Historia Musculorum Aquilae. In Acta Hafn.y Vol. II, 
1675, pp. 320-345. Maar, Vol. II, pp. 257-277 (No. XXXII). 

24. Prooemium Demonstrationum Anatomicarum in Theatro 
Hafniensi Anni 1673. In Acta Hafn.^ Vol. II, 1675, pp. 359-366. 
Maar, Vol. II, pp. 249-256 (No. XXXI). 

In addition to the foregoing treatises, Maar prints extracts from 
various sources, op. cit.. Vol. II, pp. 283-310 (Appendix, Nos. 


1. De Solido intra Solidum Naturaliter Contento Dissertationis 
Prodromus. Florence, 1669. Maar, Vol. II, pp. 181-227 (No. 

2. Letter to Cosimo III, in Italian, On the Grotto above Gresta. 
First printed by Fabroni, Lettere Inedite di Uomini Illustri (Flor- 
ence, 1773-1775), Vol. II, no. 141, pp. 318-321. Maar, Vol. II, pp. 
239-242 (No. XXIX). 

3. Letter to Cosimo III, in Italian, On the Grotto of Moncodine. 
Dated August 19, 1671. First printed by Fabroni, op. cit., no. 142, 
PP- 321-327. Maar, Vol. II, 243-248 (No. XXX). 



1. Ad Virum Eruditum cum Quo in Unitate S. R. E. desiderat 
Aeternam Amicitiam inire^ Epistola detegens Illorum Artes Qui 
Suum de Interprete S. Scripturae Errorem S^ Patrum Testimonio 
confirmare nituntur. Florence, 1675. 

2. Epistola exponens Methodum Convincendi Acatkolicunt juxta 
D. Chrysostomum ex ejusdem Homilia XXXIII in Act. Aposto- 
lorum. Florence, 1675. 

3. Epistola ad Novae Philosophiae Reformatorem de Vera Phi- 
losophia. Florence, 1675. 

4. Epistola de Propria Conversione, Florence, 1677. 

5. Scrutinium Reformatorum ad Demonstrandum Re/ormatores 
Morum fuisse a Deo, Re/ormatores autem Fidei et Doctrinae nan 
fuisse. Florence, 1677. 

6. Epistola de Philosophia Cartesiana. Florence, 1677. 

7. Scrutinium Reformatorum d. i. Kurtzer Beweis dass Dieje- 
nigen Lehrer, so die Sitten der Menscken zu Verbessem Getrcuhtet^ 
von Gott Gewesen, mil Nick ten aber die Andern, so die Glaubens- 
lehre zu Verbessem Gesucket. Hannover, 1678. 

8. Occasio Sermonum de Religione cum, Jo. Sylvio. Hannover, 

9. Examen Objectionis circa Diversas Scripturas Sacras et 
Earum Interpretation's Tamquam Divinas a Diversis Ecclesiis 
Propositas, D. Jo. Sylvio per Litteras a, i6yo Transmissum^ modo 
Distinctius et Auctius in Lucem Editum^ Ubi Omnes^ Qui Re/or- 
matos Se Credunty Nobis Nulla Unquam Fidei Reformatione Indigis 
Objiciunt, Se Solos Certos esse, Quod Deo Credant, Nostram autem 
Fidem Non Divina, Sed Humana Auctoritate niti. Hannover 

10. Tractatio cU Purgatorio Cum Discursu utrum Pontijicii an 
Protestantes in Religionis Negotio Conscientiae Suae Rectius Con- 
sulant. Hannover, 1678. 


11. Katholische Glaubenslehre vont Fegfeur^ mil Klaren Zeug- 
niissen aus dent H, Angus lino Bewehret ; nebenst Entdeckung Vier 
Grober Irrthumer des Dorschdi^ indent Er Vorgibt dass Bellarmi' 
nus das Fegfeur aus den H, H. V'dttem Nicht Habe Erweisen 
Konnen, etc. Hannover, 1678. 

12. Defensio it Plenior Elucidatio Scrutinii Refomtatorum, 
Hannover, 1679. 

1 3. Defensio et Plenior Elucidatio Epistolae de Propria Conver- 
sione. Hannover, i68o. 

14. Parochorum Hoc Age^ seu Evidens Demonstratio Quod 
Parochus Tenetur Omnes Alias Occupationes dimittere et Suae 
attendere Perfectioni ut Commissas Sibi Oves ad Statum Salutis 
Aetemae Ipsis a Christo Praeparatum Perducat. Florence, 1683. 



Nicolai Stenonis De Solido Intra Solidum Naturaliter Contento 
— Dissertationis Prodromus. Ad Serentssimum Ferdinandum II 
Magnum Etrurian Ducem. Florentiae, Ex Typographia sub 
sigfio Stellae MDCLXIX. Superiorum Pennissu} 

The volume is a small quarto, the t)rpe page measuring seven and 
one sixteenth by four and three sixteenths inches, with wide mar- 
gins. Including the margins, the page measures nine and one half 
by six and five sixteenths inches. Maar observes {Opera Phtlo- 
sopkica, Vol. II, p. 355) that copies are extant without the wide 
margins, although he does not state where either these or the former 
may be found. The title-page is in two colors, as may be seen from 
our reproduction of it (Plate VII). We present also a reproduction 
of the first page of the treatise, with its tastefully designed headpiece 
and initial letter (Plate VIII). The volume is a creditable example 
of seventeenth century Italian printing. 

The text fills 76 pages, and ends with a quaint tailpiece, which 
we have reproduced at the end of the translation (p. 270). The 
authorizations of publication fill the greater part of the next two 
pages. The figures follow, brought together in a single large fold- 
ing plate. In this volume for the convenience of readers we have 
distributed the figures among three full-page plates (numbered IX, 

^ Translation : The Prodromus of Nicolaus Steno^s 


Concerning a solid naturally contained 

Within a solid 

The Most Serene 
Ferdinand II 
Grand Duke of Tuscany 


From the press under the sign of the star, MDCLXIX 
By order of the superiors. 


[Plate VII.] 


D E S O L I D O 


A D 




Ex Typographia fub figno STELLiE MDCLXIX. 


X, XI), reproducing them, however, in the original size,^ and pre- 
serving the numerical order. The 'explanation of the figures' in 
the original edition is printed on an accompanying double-page fold- 
ing inset. Page 79, not numbered, contains a list of corrections, 
which is far from complete. 

There are two copies of the original edition in the British 
Museum. The copy which I examined (press mark 537. b. i) has a 
plate preceding the text and a duplicate of it following the explicatio 
figurarum. A number of marginal corrections of the text have 
been made by some scholarly reader, for they are essential in every 
case. There is also a copy in the Library of the Royal Society, 
London ; it is bound up with various tracts, and contains marginal 
corrections, but by a less careful hand. In this copy the plate and 
* explanation of figures ' are inserted in the front of the treatise. 

The only copy which I have found in the United States is in the 
New York Public Library, and carries the stamp of the Astor 
Library on its title-page. It is in perfect condition and without 
marginal corrections. 


1. Nicolai S tenants De Solido Intra Solidum Naturaliter Con- 
tento — Dissertationis Prodromus. Ad Serenissimum Ferdinan- 
dum II Magnum Etruriae Ducem. Lugd. Batav. Apud Jacobum 
Moukee, 1679. 

The copy of the Leyden reprint in the British Museum is a 
neatly printed duodecimo of 115 pages, followed by the explicatio 
figurarum and plate. The lower half of the plate has been torn 
oflf, and the upper part is bound upside down. Several other 
treatises are bound up with the Prodromus. 

2. Viri Cekberrimi Nicolai Stenonis Dani De Solido Intra 
Solidum Naturaliter Contento — Dissertationis Prodromus. Ad 
Serenissimum Ferdinandum II Magnum. Etruriae Ducem Editio 
Secunda Etrusca. Pistorii A. S. MDCCLXIII. Ex Typographio 
Publici. Praesidibus Permittentibus. Prostant etiam Florentiae 
apud Vicentium Landi Bibliopilam prope Monasterium Monacho- 
rum Cassinensium. 

According to Maar,^ the Bibliotheca Nazionale Braidense, Milan, 

* Figure 17 alone is slightly reduced. * Opera Philosophical Vol. II, p. 355. 


and the British Museum possess copies of this Pistoia reprint of 
1763. The British Museum copy, the only one I have seen, is a 
quarto volume of 73 pages followed by a reduced reproduction of 
the plate. It is more compactly printed than the original edition, 
and page 68 has a brief index of contents. The original attesta- 
tions on page 71 are followed by the re-imprimatur as follows: 
Dominicus Bracciolini Vicarius Generalis Si Stampi Francesco 
Alfonso Tallinucci per S. M. C. Giudise ordinario di Pistoja. 
The title-page bears the following quotation from Bacon : 

Qui partes scribendi Historiam Naturalem sibi sumpserint hoc 
cogitent se nan lectoris delectationi debere inservire ; sed comparare 
rerum copiam et varietatemy qua£ veris axiomatibus conficiendis suffir 
ciat. Par. ad Hist. Nat. et Exper, Aph, II} 

3. Facsimile Edition. Ed. W. Junk. No. 5 : N. Steno De Salido 
Intra Solidum Naturaliter Contento — Dissertationis Prodamus. 
Ad Serenissimum Ferdinandum II Magnum Etruriae Ducem. 

Florentiae, 1669. Exempt. No. . W. Junk, Berlin N.W., 

Rathenower Str. 22, 1904. 

The Berlin Facsimile is an exact reproduction of the original 
edition, by the heliotype process. 

4. De Solido Intra Solidum Naturaliter Contento — Disserta- 
tionis Prodromus. Ad Serenissimum Ferdinandum II Magnum 
Etruricu Ducem. (A corrected text of the original edition.) 
Vilhelm Maar, Nicolai Stenonis Opera Philosophica (Copenhagen, 
Vilhelm Tryde, MCMX), Vol. II, pp. 181-227. 


E Dissertatione Nicolai Stenonis De Solido Intra Solidum 
Naturaliter Contento Excerpta In Quibus Doctrinas Geological 
Quae Hodie Sunt In Honore Facile Est Reperire. Curante Leo- 
poldo Pilla, Florentiae, Ex Typographia Galilaeiana, 1842. 

Pillas edition of 1842 may be found in the Library ctf the Uni- 
versity of Bologna, the British Museum, the Library of the Geolog- 
ical Society in London, and undoubtedly in other libraries. It 

' Translation : * Let those who undertake the writing of natural history reflect that they 
ought not to be subservient to the pleasure of the reader • . . but that they ought to collect 
and prepare a store and diversity of things whidi may be sufficient for forming genuine 

[Plate VIII.] 



GNOTAS regiones adeunti- 
bus frequenter cuenic, dum 
per loca concinuis mondbus 
afpera feftinant ad vrbenu 
in vertice eorum fitam , vt 
(imul vifam , (imul proxi- 
mam fibi arbicrentur , licet 
multiplices viaruin ambages 
ad tedium vfque fpem illorum morentur . Sola^ 
enim proxima cacumina proipiciunt , qua: verd 
eorumdem cacuminum obieftu occultantur , fiae 
edita collium , fiue profunda vallium , fme cam- 
porum plana, conieSuras eorum vt plurimum fu- 
perant, cum (ibimet ipCs abblandiendo, locorum 
interualla ex defiderio metiantur . Nee aliter ft, 
res ha bet cum illis , qui ad veram renim cogni 
A tionem 


contains 28 pages and a reduced plate. The text is accompanied 
by brief notes in Latin. This edition, like that of Beaumont, is 
very incomplete. 


I . The Prodromus to a Dissertation Concerning Solids Naturally 
Contained within Solids. Laying a Foundation for the Rendering 
a Rational Accompt both of the Frame and the several Changes 
of the Masse of the EARTHy as also of the various Productions 
in the same- By Nicolaus Steno. English 'd by H. O. London. 
Printed by J. Winter, and are to be Sold by Moses Pitt at the 
White-Hart in Little Brittain, 1671. 

This translation is a bibliographical rarity, as are all editions of 
Steno. H. O. is undoubtedly Henry Oldenburg, who was elected 
Secretary of the Royal Society, April 22, 1663, and continued to 
act in that capacity until November 30, 1677, at a salary of forty 
pounds a year.^ 

Maar^ mentions only the copies in the Royal Library of Copen- 
hagen and the British Museum. There is also a copy in the Library 
of the Geological Society, London, and another in the Harvard 
University Library. It is odd that the Royal Society should not 
have been presented with a copy by the author; possibly one may 
have been presented, and lost. The British Museum copy is imper- 
fect, the plate being lacking. The page facing the preface bears the 
name fos. Banks. This can be no other than Sir Joseph Banks, 
the celebrated English naturalist, who became President of the 

* See Record of Royal Society ^ 3d ed., 191 2, p. 207 ; and Birch, History of the Royal 
Society^ Vol. II (1756), p. 376. Oldenburg was succeeded by Robert Hooke. Under the 
date of June 25, 1667, Samuel Pepys remarks: **I was told, yesterday, that Mr. Oldenburg, 
our Secretary at Gresham College, is put into the Tower, for writing news to a virtuoso in 
France, with whom he constantly corresponds in philosophical matters ; which makes it very 
unsafe at this time to write, or almost do any thing.^^ And again, under date of April 30, 
1669: '^This morning I did visit Mr. Oldenburgh, and did see the instrument for perspective 
made by Dr. Wren, of which I have one making by Browne ; and the sight of this do please 
me mightily." 

For the records of Oldenburg^s arrest on June 20, 1667, and his release on August 26 of the 
same year by orders of Charles II, see C. R. Weld, History of the Royal Society, London, 
1848, vol. I, pp. 201-204. An account of Oldenburg^s life may be found ibid,, pp. 259-261. 

A brief notice of the H. O. edition was contributed, probably by Oldenburg himself, to the 
Royal Society. See Philosophical Transactions, vol. VI (1671), p. 2179 fF. ; Abridged Edi- 
tion of Philosophical Transactions, vol. I (1665-1672), London, 1809, pp. 605, 606. 

* Opera Philosophica, Vol. II, p. 356. 


Royal Society in 1778 and who is known to have bequeathed his 
collection of books and botanical specimens to the British Museum. 
The copy in the Library of the Geological Society is inscribed with 
the name Rob. Dav on the upper right-hand corner of the fly-leaf, 
where the last part of the name, Davis, has been worn away. 

The Harvard copy is thus described by its donor, Professor J. B. 
Wood worth, in Science, Vol. 25 (1907), pp. 738, 739: "There are 
sixteen pages of preface with the title-page, and 112 pages of text 
and one plate ; the size of the printed part of the page measures 2.75 
inches wide by 5.5 inches high. . . . The copy in the writer's pos- 
session is bound up as a separately paged tract at the end of a small 
volume of the celebrated Robert Boyle's * Essays of Effluvium, etc.,' 
containing also his * Essay about the Origine and Virtue of Gems * of 
1672.* A general title-page gives reference to Steno's work. This 
title-page is dated 1673.^ All of the contained tracts appear to have 
been separately printed at different dates between 1671 and 1673, at 
which last date they were brought out in the form above described."' 

* In this connection the following item from the History of the Royal Society (Vol. Ill, p. 
55) is of interest: "Mr. O. presented from Mr. Boyle his Essay about the Origin and Vir^ 
tues of GemSy printed at London, 1672, in 8vo." 

^ Woodworth's title-page, as reproduced in Science, vol. 25, p. 738, ascribes the publica- 
tion of the treatise to F. Winter. The letter is not F but a quaintly formed /, as is dear 
from the reappearance of the same letter in the spelling of the "Nordjuyces in the " Interpreter 
to the Reader." Maar, op. cit.. Vol. II, p. 336 also printed F, but in a letter in reply to my 
contention writes : " Of course you are quite right. It is a / and not an F on the title-page of 
Steno's treatise." 

' Dr. Maar is the possessor of a similar copy which is not described in his Opera PhUo^ 
sophica. The title-page reads : 

Of the 
Strange Subtility 
Determinate Nature 
Great Efficacy 

To which are annext 

New Experiments to make FIRE 

and FLAME Ponderable. 

Together with 

A Discovery of the Perviousness of Glass, 


An ESSAY, about the Origine 
and Virtue of GEMS. 
By the Honorable Robert Boyle, 
Fellow of the Royal Society. 
To which is added 
The PRODROMUS to a Dissertation 
concerning Solids naturally contained with- 



The translation is preceded by an address or preface bearing the 
title: "The Interpreter to the Reader." Since this is of unusual 
interest because of the writer's testimony regarding the results of 
the independent investigation of the nature of gems by Robert 
Boyle, we print it here in full : 

" Reader, 

"This Ingenious Piece, lately publish 't in Italy, (where 'twas 
Printed in Latin), and thence come to the hands of the Interpreter, 
was thought fit to be English 'd, chiefly upon this occasion, That the 
Stationer, that hath Printed it, did, upon Information given Him of 
the Valuable Contents thereof, earnestly soUicite, that it might 
forth-with be put into this Language; he not only conceiving, that 
there being now very little or no commerce between the English 
Book-sellers, and those of Italy, the conveyance of this Book, (as it 
doth of others there Printed) into England would prove very tardy; 
but also considering, that though within a reasonable time some 
Copies of it should come over, yet there would not be enough of 
them, to serve all sorts of curious English-Men, nor even that num- 
ber of English Readers versed in the Latin Tongue, which this 
Considerable Discourse is like to meet with, forasmuch as it giveth 
very fair hopes. That by a due weighing of the particulars, therein 
laid down, the sagacious Inquirers into Nature may be much as- 
sisted to penetrate into the true knowledge of one of the Great 
Masses of the World, the EARTH, and therein to find out not only 
the Constitution of the Whole, but also the several Changes, and the 
various Productions made in the Parts thereof; as the Excellent 
Robert Boyle ^ hath of late Years, with great Acuteness as well as 

in Solids Giving an Account of the Earth 

and its Productions. 
By Nicholas Steno, Englished by H. O. 
London, Printed by W, G. for M. Pitt, at 
the Angel near the little North Door 
of St Paul's Church. 1673. 
A copy of this edition, consigned to the translator, was lost in the sinking of the ^^ Hes- 
perian,^^ September 6, 191 5. Another copy of the H. O. translation, now in the translator's 
possession, is an independent volume in its original calf binding. To the bibliographical data 
presented above, it may be interesting to add that the first page of the translation is adorned 
with the conventional emblems of the rose, fleur-de-lis, and thistle, each surmounted by the 
crown of Charles II as Sovereign of the United Kingdom. The book is very rare. 

^ The reference is to Memoirs for a General History of the Air (which, however, was not 
published until 1692), by Robert Boyle (1627-1691), in the edition of P. Shaw, Vol. Ill, Lon- 


unwearied Industry, led us on a great way in the knowledge of 
another of the great Masses, the AIR, though the same also hath 
not been unmindful of considering this very subject, here treated of; 
forasmuch as He, before he would see or hear any thing of this 
Prodromus, did upon occasion candidly declare to the Author of 
this Version, (who bona fide here publickly attests it,) 

" First, That he doth, upon several inducements, suppose, the 
generality of Transparent Gems or Precious Stones to have been 
once Liquid substances, and many of them, whilst they were either 
fluid, or at least soft, to have been imbraced with Mineral Tinctures, 
that con-coagulated with them ; whence he conceiveth, that divers 
of the real qualities and vertues of Gems (for he doubts, most 
ascribed to them are fabulous) may be probably derived. And 
as for Opacous Gems and other Medical Stones, as Bloud-Stones, 
Jaspers, Magnets, Emery, etc. He esteems them to have, for the 
most part, been Earth (perhaps in some Cases very much diluted 
and soft,) impregnated with the more copious proportion of fine 
Metallin or other Mineral Juyces or Particles; all which were after- 
wards reduced into the forme of Stone by the supervenience (or the 
exalted action) of some already in-existent petrescent liquor or 
petrifick Spirit, which he supposeth may sometimes ascend in the 
forme of Steams ; from whence may be probably deduced not only 
divers of the Medical Vertues of such stones, but some of* their 
other Qualities, as Colour, Weight, etc. and also explained. How it 
may happen what He hath (and, he doubts not, others may have 
also) observed of Stones of another kind, or Marcasites, or even 
Vegetable and perhaps Animal substances, that have been found 
inclosed in solid Stones ; For, these Substances may easily be con- 
ceived to have been lodged in the Earth, whilst it was but Mineral 
Earth or Mud ; and afterwards to have been, as 'twere cased up by 
the supervenient Petrifick Agents that pervaded it.^ 

" Nor are these Petrescent liquors the only ones, to which he sup- 
poseth that many Fossils may owe their Origin, since he thinks, 

don, 1725, pp. 15-98. The edition of Boyle's works by Thomas Birch (first edition, 1744, in 
five volumes, the second, 1772, in six) has not been accessible to me. 

^ " Of these Pretious Stones this Noble Philosopher was pleased to leave with the Publisher 
a Manuscript of his composure, now ready to be Printed, which he assurM him it had been 
several Years ago." 

H. O. refers to Boyle's The Origin and Virtues of Genis^ published in 1672. Cf. Shaw, 
VoL III, pp. 99-143, and above, p. 198. 


there may be, (if one may so speak) both Metallescent and Mineral- 
escent Juyces in the bowels of the Earth, and that sometimes they 
may there exist and operate under the forme of Spirits or Steams.^ 

" Beside this, we cannot but take notice here of what was in- 
timated a good while ago in Numb. 32. of the Phil. Transactions, p. 
628, viz. That Mr. Robert Hook had at that time ready some Dis- 
courses upon this very Argument, which, by reason of the many 
avocations he hath met with in the rebuilding of the City of Lon- 
don, and his attendance on the R. Society, he hath not yet been able 
quite to finish for the Press. 

" Now this being so, that several judicious Persons do employ 
themselves in the inquiry after the Observables in the greater Parts 
of the World, there is no question but many remarkable things will 
be detected therein ; and, (to speak more generally on this occasion,) 
since 'tis apparent, that the Ingenious and Diligent almost every- 
where are entring more and more into Philosophical Leagues, for 
the discovery of the works of God and the Operations of Nature, we 
cannot but entertain pregnant hopes, that notwithstanding all the 
oppositions of Lazy and Envious Men, a good harvest of consider- 
able and useful knowledge will be reaped in time, and thence good 
store of fruitful seed be ministred for large successive crops of the 
same kind, for the magnifying of our great Creatour, and the Eno- 
bling and benefiting of Man-kind." 

2. Extrait De La Dissertation de Nicolas S tenon sur les corps 
solides qui se trouvent contenus nature llentent dans d^autres corps 
solides. In Collection Academique de Dijon^ Partie Etrangere^ IV, 

I757> pp. 377-414. 

3, Prodromus d^une dissertation sur le solide contenu naturellement 
dans un autre solide ; extrait et traduit par M. Elie de Beaumont. 
Paris, 1832. 

This translation appeared in Annates des Sciences Nature lies, 
Paris, 1832, Vol. 25, pp. 337-377. The article is entitled Fragmens 
geologiques tires de Stenon, de Kazwini, de Strabon et du Boun- 

Copies of Beaumont's translation may be found in the libraries 

^ ^ About which he also was willing not only to shew to the Publisher several Observations 
and Collections of his in the forme of Discourses, but also to put them into his hands to 
peruse the same.^^ 


of the Royal Society and the Geological Society, London. The 
title-page of the edition in the Geological Society shows that Beau- 
mont based his work on the Leyden edition of 1679. It is, however, 
a summary rather than a translation, emphasizing chiefly the section 
dealing with the origin of mountains. 

4. Nicolaus Steno Forelffbig Meddelelse Til en A/handling Ont 
Faste Legemer^ Der Findes Naturlig Indlejrede I Andre paste Lege- 
mer I Overscettelse Ved August Krogh Og Vilhelm Maar Med 
Indledning Og Noter, Kj^benhavn, MfMII. Gyldendalske Bog- 
handels Forlag Langkjaers Bogtrykkeri. 

This is a quarto volume containing a portrait of Steno, an Intro- 
duction, pp. i-xii, the Translation, pp. 3-89, the Explanation of 
Figures, pp. 91-93, and a half-sized reproduction of the original 
plate. The attestations are given on page 97, not numbered, and page 
98. Pages 101-106 contain notes. The edition is limited to 700 
numbered copies. 


Angelis, de, Article Stenon in Biographie Universelle {Mtckaud)^ 
Ancienne et Moderne^ Nouvelle Edition, Tome Quarantieme, Paris, 
pp. 209-211. 

Capellini, G., Di Nicola Stenone e dei suoi studi geologici in Italia^ 
University of Bologna, 1870. 

Chereau, Article Stenon in Dictionnaire Encyclopedique des Sci- 
ences Medicates, Troisieme Serie, Tome Onzieme, Paris, 1883, 
pp. 689-691. 

Eloy, N., Dictionnaire Historique de la Medicine, Tome Second, 
Li^ge, i755>PP- 391-393- 

Fabronius, A., Vitce Italorum Doctrina Excellentium Qui Saeculis 
X VII et X VIII Floruerunt {Visis, 1778-1805), Vol. Ill (1779). 

Geikie, A., Tke Founders of Geology (2d ed., London, 1905), 
PP- 53-60. 

Gosch, C. C. A., Udsigt over den danske Zoologiske Literature 
2 Afdeling, i Hefte, KjzJbenhavn, 1872. 

Hughes, T. M., Steno, in Nature, Vol. 25 (1882), pp. 484-486. 


Huxley, T. H., The Rise and Progress of PaUeontology^ Discourse 
at York (Meeting of the British Association), in Nature, Vol. 24 
(1881), pp. 452-455. 

Jorgensen, A. D., Niels Stensen, K^benhavn, 1884. 

Kocher, A., Herzog Johann Friedrich, Bischof Steno, u. Pastor 
Petersen, in Zeitschrift des historischen Vereins fiir Niedersacksen, 
1889, pp. 204-212. 

Lorenzen, A., Niels Stensen, Der Vater der Geologie, in Die Natur, 
Vol. 3 (1854), p. 220 ff. 

Lyell, C, Principles of Geology (9th ed., New York, 1853), 
pp. 21-24. 

Manni, D. M., Vita del Litteratissimo Mgr. Niccolo Stenone, 
Firenze, 1775. 

Plenkers, W., Der Ddne Niels Stensen, Ein Lebensbild nach cUn 
Zeugnissender Mit- und Ncuhwelt entworfen, Freiburg im Br., 1884. 

Spencer, L. J., Article Crystallography,\n Encyclopcedia Britannica, 
nth ed., Vol. yil, pp. 569, 570; cf. also Article Steno, ibid.. 
Vol. XXV, p. 879. 

SoUas, W. J., The Influence of Oxford on the History of Geology, 
in Science Progress, Vol. 7 (1898), pp. 25-29. 

Wichfeld, J., Erindringer om den Danske Videnskabsmand Niels 
Stensen, in Historisk Tidsskrift, 3 Raekke, 4 Bind (Kj0benhavn, 
1865), pp. 1-109. 

Wood worth, J. B., Steno, in Science, Vol. 25 (1907), pp. 738, 739. 

Von Zittel, K. A., Geschichte der Geologic und Paldontologie bis 
Ende des ip fahrhunderts (Miinchen u. Leipzig, 1899), pp. 32-36. 

Steno ist der erste Forscher weUher geologische Probleme auf in- 
ductivem Wege zu losen versuchte und zugleich eine klare Vorstellung 
davon hattCy dass die Geschichte der Erde aus ihrer Zusammensetzung 
und ihrem Aufbau ermittelt werden k'onne. Fur die Entwicke- 
lung der Geologie blieben leider die Schriften dieses Schar/sinnigen 
Forscher s ohne jegliche Bedeutung ; sie wurden von den Zeitgenossen 
kaum beachtet, geriethen in Vergessenheit und fanden erst in diesetn 
Jahrhundert durch Elie de Beaumont und Alexander von Humboldt 
die verdiente Anerkennung. 

— Von ZitteLf Geschichte der Geologie und Palaontologie^ pp. 35, 36. 


* • • • « 

• < 

• • • . 



Mas/ Serene Grand Duke:^ 

Travellers into unknown realms frequently find, as they hasten 
on over rough mountain paths toward a summit city, that it 
seems very near to them when first they descry it, whereas mani- 
fold turnings may wear even their hope to weariness. For they 
behold only the nearest peaks, while the things which are hidden 
from them by the interposition of those same peaks, whether 
heights of hills, or depths of valleys, or levels of plains, far and 
away surpass their guesses; since by flattering themselves they 
measure the intervening distances by their desire. 
P. «.* So, and not otherwise, is it with those who proceed to true 
knowledge by way of experiments ; for as soon as certain tokens 
of the unknown truth have become clear to them, they are of a 
mind that the entire matter shall be straightway disclosed. 
And they will never be able to form in advance a due estimate 
of the time which is necessary for loosing that knotted chain 
of difficulties which, by coming forth one by one, and from con- 
cealment, as it were, delay, by the constant interposition of 
obstacles, them that are hastening toward the end. The begin- 
ning of the task merely reveals certain common, and commonly 
known, difficulties, whereas the matters which are comprised in 
these difficulties — now untruths which must be overthrown, 
now truths which must be established ; sometimes dark places 
which must be illumined, and again, unknown facts which must 
be revealed — shall rarely be disclosed by any one before the 
clew of his search shall lead him thither. Democritus,' not un- 

^ Ferdinand II, Grand Duke of Tuscany; see p. 179. 

^The pagination is that of the original publication, which is reproduced in the Berlin Fac- 
simile (p. 196). 

'Steno doubtless had in mind the proverb recorded by Diogenes Laertius (IX. 72) ; crc^ 
& ov8cv Z8/ACV- ev /3v^ y^ ^ dXi/^eio, Mn reality we know naught, for truth lies in a well.^ 
fiv^y strictly speaking, denotes the depth of the sea (cf. ^Eschylus, Prometheus^ 432). It is 
in this sense that Cicero {Academica Prior,, ii. 10, 32) repeats the proverb : naturam accusa, 
quae in profundo veritatem, ut ait Democritus, penitus abstruserity *• Accuse nature, which has 



wisely, wa/s-.wont tb use the illustration of a well, wherein one 

could. ^catcely estimate aright the task and time of draining it 

.dryyex6^pt by draining it dry, since both the number and the 

.. •. volume of the hidden springs leave the amount of the intake a 

• ;;. *• 'matter of doubt 

Do not be surprised, therefore. Most Serene Prince, if, fpr a 
whole year's time, and, what is more, almost daily, I have said 
that the investigation for which the teeth of the shark ^ had fur- 
nished an opportunity, was very near an end. For having once 
or twice seen regions where shells and other similar deposits of 
the sea are dug up, when I observed that those lands were sedi- 
ments of the turbid sea and that an estimate could be formed 
of how often the sea had been turbid in each place, I not only 

P. 8. over-hastily fancied, but also dauntlessly informed others, that a 
complete investigation on the spot was the work of a very short 
time. But thereafter, while I was examining more carefully the 
details of both places and bodies, these day by day presented 
points of doubt to me as they followed one another in indissoluble 
connection, so that I saw myself again and again brought back 
to the starting-place, as it were, when I thought I was nearest 
the goal. I might compare those doubts to the heads of the 
Lemean Hydra, since when one of them had been got rid of, 
numberless others were born; at any rate, I saw that I was 
wandering about in a sort of labyrinth, where the nearer one 
approaches the exit, the wider circuits does one tread.^ 

But I shall not tarry to excuse this tardiness of mine, since it 
is abundantly evident to you, from long experience, how per- 

hidden the truth completely, as Democritus says, in the depth.* Cf. also Acad, Past,y i. 
12, 44 : Democritus (dixit) in profunda veritatem esse demersam. 

Steno^s use of the word puteus (' well ^) accords with the expression of the proverb in his 
time. Rabelais {Pantagruel, iii. 36) incorrectly ascribes the saying to Heraditus : fe sums 
descendu au puiz tenebreux, auqutl disait Heraclitus estre vtritt cacfUe, A curious addition 
to the original was made by Francis Bacon (edition of Spedding, Ellis, Heath, Vol. XIII, 
p. 383) when he wrote, *^ Democritus said < that truth did lie in profound pits, and when it was 
got, it needed much refining/ ^^ 

The proverb has given rise to several allegorical paintings of Truth in which the well figures 
prominently. Among these are Paul Baudry^s "Truth,"). J. Lefebure's " Truth,** both in 
the Luxembourg ; and Titian^s so-called " Sacred and Profane Love," in the Boighese Gallery. 

^ Canis Carcharia, Steno^s treatise Canis Carchariae Dissectum Caput is dated 1667 and 
is reprinted by Maar, N", Stenonis Opera PhUosophica^ Vol. II, pp. 1 13-145. Cf. p. 125, 

^The language is reminiscent of Seneca, Epistles^ 44- 7* 


plexing is a matter which is involved in a series of experiments. 
But the fact that, after a large part of the task assayed had been 
completed, I should drop everything and ask your leave to re- 
turn to my native land to pursue anatomical investigation — 
this indeed would demand an excuse did I not know that this 
obedience on the part of a subject of another prince would not 
be displeasing to you, which in a similar circumstance would 
please you on the part of your own subjects. And this hope of 
mine concerning your kindness is made surer by that exceptional 
goodwill, whereby, through devoting generous assistance^ to the 
advancement of my studies, you wished that unrestricted oppor- 
tunity for learning should be left to me whenever occasion might 
arise. Therefore, since I no longer dare to hope for the time neces- 
P. 4. sary for finishing the tasks which I have begun, I shall do in the 
payment of my promises what has been conceded by common 
custom to debtors ; when they have not the means to pay in full, 
they pay what they have, in order that they may not be forced 
to withdraw from business. Since, then, I am unable to complete 
all the things which were to be shown to you, I shall offer the 
chief of what I have found, in order that I may not appear to 
have deceived you. 

I should gladly have postponed everything until it had been 
possible for me, on my return to my native land, to perfect the 
details, were I not awaiting the same fortune there which I have 
hitherto experienced everywhere, in that new tasks have con- 
stantly stood in the way of finishing those first undertaken. 
While I was intent upon counting the glands of the entire body,^ 
the wonderful structure of the heart ^ carried me away into an 
examination of it; and the deaths of my kin ^ interrupted the 
studies I had begun on the heart. Your seas furnished us a 
shark ^ of marvellous size to keep me from applying mysdf to 

^See p. 179. ^For Steno's work on the glands, see pp. 176, 188 f. 

' Steno first mentions his study of the heart in a letter to Thomas Bartholin dated '* the 
last of April,'' 1663, Leyden. See Maar, Opera Philosophical Vol. I, p. 155. In 1667 Steno 
published his Elementorum Myologiae SpecimeUy Seu Musculi Descriptio Geometrica. Cf. 
p. 190. 

^ While studying in Leyden, 1664, Steno learned of the death of his stefHfather, Johannes 
Stlchman. The death of Steno's mother occurred soon after his arrival in Copenhagen. See 
p. 178. 

^For the treatise Canis Carchariae Caput y see p. 206, note i. Compare also Historia 
Dissecti Piscis Ex Canum GenerCy Maar, oP- cit.. Vol. II, pp. 147-^55. 


the detailed description of the muscles; and now, when I am 
wholly devoted to my present experiments, he whose command 
the law of nature bids me heed, and whose great kindness toward 
me and mine constrains me, calls me to other things.^ 

To what end all these matters may come, I do not care to 
inquire anxiously, lest it be, peradventure, to accredit to myself 
things which are due to a higher cause. If long contemplation 
had added something of my own, as it were, to discoveries not 
my own, certainly if I had tarried longer in working out one 
discovery, I should myself have shut the door to the finding of 
the rest. And so, not knowing what other experiments and 
P. 6. studies may await me elsewhere, I thought it best to set forth 
here these nriatters concerning a solid naturally contained within 
a solids which shall be a pledge to you of gratitude for the favors 
I have received and shall afford to others, who are enjoying their 
desired leisure, an opportunity of pursuing their studies of 
physics and geography with greater profit. 

As regards the production of a solid naturally contained 
within a solid, I shall first sketch briefly the method of my 
Dissertation, then explain concisely the more noteworthy mat- 
ters which appear in it. 

The Dissertation itself I had divided into four parts, of which 
the first, taking the place of an introduction, shows that the 
inquiry concerning sea objects found at a distance from the sea, 
is old, delightful, and useful ; but that its true solution, less 
doubtful in the earliest times, in the ages immediately following 
was rendered exceedingly uncertain. Then after setting forth 
the reasons why later thinkers abandoned the belief of the 
ancients, and why, although one may read a great many ex- 
cellent works by many authors, the question at issue has 
hitherto been settled by no one anew,^ I show, returning at 

^Steno refers to the invitation of Frederik III; cf. p. i8i. He got no £uther than 
Amsterdam, however. See p. 182. 

^ There is an interesting discussion on the nature and origin of fossil shells in Bernard 
Palissy's Des Pierres (Discours Admirables^ etc., Svo, Paris, 1580). Referring to Palissy^ 
Fontenelle (Jiistoire de VAcadimie des Sciences, Ann^ 1720, p. 5) remarks: "Un potier dc 
terre, qui ne savait ni latin ni grec, fut le premier qui, vers la fin du XVI* si^cle, osa dire dans 
Paris, et k la face de tous les docteurs, que les coquilles fossiles ^taient de veritable coquilles 
d^pos^es autrefois par la mer dans les lieux ou elles se trouvaient alors. que des animaux, et 
surtout des poissons, avaient donn^ aux pierres figure toutes leurs diff(frentcft %ures ; et il 


length to you, that besides very many other things which under 
your auspices have in part been discovered, and in part freed 
from old doubts, to you is due our trust that the finishing touch 
shall soon be put upon this investigation also. 

In the second part is solved a universal problem upon which 
depends the unravelling of every difficulty, and it is this: given 
a substance possessed of a certain figure^ and produced according 
P- ^ to the laws of naturey to find in the substance itself evidences 
disclosing the place and manrur of its production. In this con- 
nection, before I proceed to unfold the solution of the problem, 
I shall strive to expound all its terms, with the view of leaving 
no school of philosophers in doubt, and in dispute, as to their 

The third part I have reserved for the investigation of dif- 
ferent solids contained within a solid, in accordance with the 
laws discovered in the solution of the problem. 

The fourth part describes various conditions in Tuscany not 
treated by historians and writers upon natural subjects, and sets 
forth a process of the universal deluge which is not at variance 
with the laws governing movements of nature. 

I had indeed begun to set forth these things in Italian, both 
because I knew this would please you, and in order that it 
might appear to the illustrious Academy^ which has enrolled 

d^fia hardiment toute T^cole d^Aristote d^attaquer ses preuves.^^ The quotation is taken from 
Flourens, De la LonghHtt humaine et de la QtiafUiti de Vie sur U Globe ^ Paris, 1855, PP* ^<^» 

The dialogue in Palissy's Discotirs is between Theorique and Practiquey whose contention 
may be illustrated by the following quotation : 

^ Et par ce quMl se trouue aussi des pierres remplies de coquilles, iusques au sommet des 
plus hautes montagnes, il ne faut que tu penses que lesdites coquilles soyent formees, comme 
aucuns disent que nature se ioue k faire quelque chose de nouveau. Quand i*ay eu de bien 
pres regard^ aux formes des pierres, i^ay trouu^ que nulle dMcelles ne pent prendre forme de 
ooquille ny d^autre animal, si Tanimal mesme n^a basti sa forme : parquoy te &ut croire quMl y 
a eu iusques au plus haut des montaignes des poissons armez et autres, qui se sont engendrez 
dedans certains cassars ou receptacles d^eau, laquelle eau terre e d^un sel congelatif 
et generati^ le tout s^est reduit en pierre auec Tarmure du poisson, laquelle est demeuree en sa 
forme. ... II feut done conclure que auparauant que cesdites coquilles fussent petrifies, les 
pcHSSons qui les ont formees estoyent viuans dedans Teau qui reposoit dans les receptacles 
desdites montagnes, et que depuis Teau et les poissons se sont petrifiez en un mesme temps, et 
de ce DC £iut douter.^^ (Etivres Complies de Bernard Palissy, by Paul-Antoine Cap, Paris, 

18449 pp. 277, 279. 

^ The Accademia del Cimento ; see p. 180. This Academy came to an end in 1667 when 
its foundefi Lipoid de* Medici, became a Cardinal. 


me among its members, that as I am least worthy of so great 
an honor, so am I most desirous of proving the attempts where- 
by I am striving to attain some knowledge of the Tuscan 
tongue. But I am not grieved that the necessity has been 
placed upon me of postponing that writing ; for as my present 
journey promises me a fuller knowledge of matters serving to 
elucidate my investigation, so the delay assures me of a happier 
advancement in my study of the language. 

It would be a long task to write out in detail all my observa- 
tions, together with the conclusions drawn from them, devel- 
oped in accordance with the method suggested; wherefore, I 
shall report sometimes conclusions, and again observations, as 
may seem best, in order to explain the chief points briefly, and 
p. 7. as clearly as possible. 

The reason why, in the solution of natural questions, not only 
do many doubts remain undecided but, for the most part, such 
doubts multiply with the number of writers, seems to me to 
depend chiefly upon two causes. 

The first cause is that few take it for granted that all those 
difficulties, without whose solution the settlement of the ques- 
tion itself is left marred and incomplete, must be removed. 
The present inquiry illustrates this point. Only a single diffi- 
culty vexed the ancients, that is in what way marine bodies had 
been left in places far from the sea; and the question was never 
raised whether similar substances had been produced elsewhere 
than in the sea.^ 

^ The presence of fossil shells in places remote from the sea is discussejt^in the Geography 
of Strabo {circa 67 B.C.-19 a.d.), C. 49, 50 (I. 3, 4) : 

* He (Eratosthenes) says that a particularly interesting subject of inquiry is afforded by the 
fact that an abundance of cockle, oyster, and scallop shells, and salt-water lakes are frequently 
seen far inland, two or three thousand stadia from the sea, as in the case of the temple of 
Ammon and the road leading up to it for a distance of three thousand stadia. For a profusion 
of oyster shells, salt beds, and salt springs can still be found there at the present time. In 
addition to this, wrecks of sea-going vessels are pointed out which were said to have been cast 
up through some chasm. ... 

* In this he agrees with the opinion of Strato, the physicist, and of Xanthus, the Lydian. 
Xanthus asserts that in the reign of Artaxerxes there was so great a drought that the rivers, 
lakes, and wells dried up ; and that he had frequently found, £Eir from the sea, fossil shells, 
some like cockles and others like scallops, as well as salt lakes in Armenia, Matiana, and 
Lower Phrygia. On this account he was convinced that what are now plains had once been 
sea. Strato, who searched more deeply for the causes of these phenomena, believed that the 
Euxine formerly had no outlet at Byzantium, but the rivers which emptied into the Euxine 
had forced an opening, and that the water thereupon fell into the Propontis and the Hellespont; 


In more recent periods the difficulty of the ancients was 
pressed with less insistence, since almost all were concerned 
with tracing out the origin of the bodies mentioned. They 
who ascribed them to the sea accomplished this result: they 
proved that bodies of this character could not have been pro- 
duced by any other agency. They who attributed these bodies 
to the land, denied that the sea could have covered the places 
where they were found, and were wholly engaged in praising the 
forces of a Nature of which they had little knowledge — forces 
fitted to produce anything whatsoever. Perhaps a third opinion 
may properly be admitted, in accordance with which a part of 
the bodies under consideration is regarded as attributable to the 
land, and a part to the sea. Nevertheless there is deep silence 
almost everywhere concerning the doubt of the ancients, except 
that some make mention of floods, and a sort of immemorial 
succession of years, but merely in passing and, as it were, in 
P. •. treating another subject. In order, therefore, to satisfy, to the 
best of my ability, the laws of analysis, I wove and unwove the 
web of this research, and scrutinized its various details again 
and again, until I saw no difficulty left any longer in the read- 
ing of authors, or in the objections of friends, or in the ex- 
amination of places, which I had not either solved, or at least 
determined, from facts hitherto known to me, to what extent a 
solution was possible. 

The first question was, whether Glossopetrae Melitenses ^ were 

' The same thing happened in the case of the Mediterranean. For the sea, after having 
been fiUed by the rivers emptying into it» had broken a passage through at the Pillars (Gibral- 
tar), and the places formerly covered with shoal water, were left dry by this eruption. He 
(Strato) finds the cause for this, first, in the feet that the bottoms of the Atlantic and of the 
Mediterranean are not on the same level, and, secondly, in the fact that even now a sand-bank 
runs beneath the water from Europe to Libjra, bearing witness to the time when the Mediter- 
lanean and the Atlantic were not united. Strato also said that the waters around Pontus are 
very shallow, whereas off Crete, Sidly, and Sardinia they are very deep. . . . 

*• £g3^t, too, he said, was formerly covered by the sea as far as the marshes near Pelusium 
(Tineh) and Mount Casius (El-Kas) and Lake Sirbonis (Lake Sebaket-Bardoil). Even now, 
when salt is dug in Egypt, the beds are found beneath layers of sand and mixed with fossil 
shells, as if the country had formerly been under the sea, and all the r^on around Casium 
and Gerra (Maseli) had a shoal extending to the Arabian Gulf.^ 

1 The literal translation of Glossopetrae Melitenses is ^ tongue^tones firom Malta.^ In the 

treatise Canis Carckariae Dissectum Caput (1667), Steno was not free from doubt as to the 

origin of the * stones,^ as shown by the following passage (Maar, op*cit,^ Vol. II, pp. 127, 128) : 

No decision has yet been reached regarding the la^^pc glossopeiraeyZ^ to whether they are 

shark^s teeth or stones formed in the earth. Some have maintained that substances found in 



once the teeth of sharks; this, it was at once apparent, is 
identical with the general question whether bodies which are 
similar to marine bodies, and which are found far from the sea, 
were once produced in the sea. But since there are found also 
on land other bodies resembling those which grow in fresh 
waters, in the air, and in other fluids, if we grant to the earth 
the power of producing these bodies, we cannot deny to it the 
possibility of bringing forth the rest. It was necessary, there- 
fore, to extend the investigation to all those bodies which, dug 
from the earth, are observed to be like those bodies which we 
elsewhere see growing in a fluid. But many other bodies, also, 
are found among the rocks, possessed of a certain form ; and if 
one should say that they were produced by the force of the 

the earth, resembling parts of animals, are the remains of animals which once lived on the 
spot ; while others believe that such substances were formed in the earth without reference to 
animals. I have not sufficient knowledge in these matters to venture an opinion at this time. 
Although my travels [Steno accompanied Ferdinand II in his travels through Tuscany ; cf. 
Plenkers, Niels Stensetiy pp. 31, 58] have led me through various regions of this sort, I would 
not presume to assert that the places which I shall see in the rest of my journey will correspond 
to those I have already examined ; especially since I have not yet seen the regions which my 
distinguished teacher Bartholin has examined in his journey in Malta. Just as in court, 
therefore, one man takes the r61e of defendant, another of plaintiff, while both submit to the 
decision of the judge, so I shall present, as a result of my observations, the reasons for ascrib- 
ing such substances to animals. At another time I may set forth the reasons for the opposite 
belief^ but I shall always await a true decision from those who are better informed.* For 
Steno^s illustrations oi glossopetrae see Maar, op. cit,y Vol. II, Tab. III. 

Pliny {Natural History^ XXXVII. 164) states that the glossopetray resembling the human 
tongue, ' is not produced (nasci) in the earth, as tradition relates, but falls from heaven at 
the time of the waning moon.* Compare, further, O. Abel, article PalaontohgU und Palao- 
zoologies in Die Kultur der Gegenwarty Driller Teily Vierle AbleUung^ Vierte Band (Leiprig, 
I9i4),pp. 313, 314: 

<' Albertus Magnus hatte noch die Moglichkeit zugegeben, dass die Versteinerungen nlcht 
ausschliesslich Produkte der Virtus formativa seien, sondern dass auch die Leichenreste 
fossiler Tiere und Pflanzen dort zu Stein werden konnten, wo eine steinmachende Kraft ihren 
Einfiuss ausiiben konne. Ungefahr in denselben Bahnen bewegen sich die Vorstellungen von 
Georg Bauer, genannt Agricola (1494-1555); Haifischzahne, die er nach dem Vorbilde des 
alteren Plinius *• Glossopetren ' nennt (eine Bezeichnung, die noch G. W. Leibniz ftir fossile 
Pottwalzahne 1749 gebrauchte), sind nach Agricola Werhartete Wassergemenge.* ** 

Ibid.y p. 344 : ''*• Die Glossopetren des Plinius sind fossile Haifischzahne, und da solche in 
tertiaren Bildungen zu den haufigeren Wirbeltierresten gehoren, so erregten sie schon fiiih- 
zeitig die Aufmerksamkeit. Es berlihrt eigentUmlich, noch heute einen einfiachen Taglohner, 
der gewiss nicht die mindeste Ahnung von der Literatur der Scholastenzeit besitzt, dnen 
fossilen Haifischzahn, den er in seinem Bruche fiand, als ' Vogelzunge ' bezeichnen zu horen. 
Bis zur Zeit Knorrs und Walchs gingen Haifischzahne vorwiegend unter der Bezeichnung 
Zungensteine, Vogelzungen, Schwalbenzungen oder Schwalbensteine, Lamiodonten, Schlan- 
genzungen usw. durch die Literatur, und noch Leibniz hielt an der Bezeichnimg ^ Glossopetra * 
des alteren Plinius fest.^^ 


place, one must confess that all the rest were produced by the 
same force. And so I saw the matter finally brought to the 
point that any given solid naturally contained within a solid 
must be examined in order to ascertain whether it was produced 
in the same place in which it is found ; that is, the character 
P. 9. not only of the place where it is found, but also of the place 
where it was produced, must be investigated. But no one, in 
truth, will easily determine the place of production who does 
not know the manner of production, and all discussion concern- 
ing the manner of production is idle unless we gain some cer- 
tain knowledge concerning the nature of matter. From this it 
is clear how many questions must be solved in order that a 
single question may be set at rest 

The second cause, the nurse of doubts, seems to me to be 
the fact that in the consideration of questions relating to nature 
those points which cannot be definitely determined, are not 
distinguished from those which can be settled with certainty. 
And the result is that the leading schools of philosophers are 
reduced to two classes. Some religiously refrain from putting 
credence even in demonstrations, out of fear that there be lurk- 
ing in them the error which they have often found in other 
asserted truths. Others, on the contrary, would by no means 
allow themselves to be bound to consider as certain only those 
matters to which no one of sound mind and sound senses 
could deny credence, but believe that all things are true which 
have seemed to themselves fine and clever. Nay, the very 
advocates of experiment have rarely had sufficient self-control 
to refrain either from casting aside even most certain funda- 
mental facts of nature, or from considering the fundamental 
facts discovered by themselves as proved. In order that I 
might, therefore, avoid ^ this rock also, I decided that in the 
sciences of nature we must enforce the principle which Seneca ^ 

^ In the Florentine edition of 1669, evitare is an obvious misprint for evitarem, 
^ Seneca nowhere, so fsir as I know, gives expression to the first part of Steno^s sentence. 
But the language of the last part is identical with that of Epistlesy 29. 1 1 : ex omni domo con- 
clamabunty Peripateticiy Academiciy Staiciy Cynici, The only point of difference is that Seneca 
has the future tense, conclamabunt, where Steno has the present, conclamant. The first part 
of Seneca^s sentence does indeed mention < the people,^ but scarcely in a manner apropos of 
Steno^s argument. Epicurus is represented as saying : *• I never wished to please the people. 
For the people does not approve what I know, and what the people approves, I do not know.^ 
Steno may have been thinking oi de BeneficiiSy I. 11, i, where benefits are classified as neces-' 


' again and again inculcates concerning maxims of morality ; he 
says that those are the best maxims of morality which are 
p. 10. common, which are of the people, which all of every school 
proclaim, Peripatetics, Academics, Stoics, and Cynics. And 
certainly those statements of the fundamental facts of nature 
cannot fail to be best which are common, which are accepted 
of the people, which all of every school are held to acknowl- 
edge, both those who in everything are desirous of novelty, and 
those who are devoted to ancient doctrines. 

I do not determine, therefore, whether the particles of a 
natural body, can or cannot undergo change, as its form does ; 
whether there are or are not minute interstices; whether in 
those particles there is present, besides extension and hardness, 
something else unknown to us ; for these expressions are not 
of common acceptance, and it is a weak argument to deny that 
there is anything else in a certain object because I do not 
discern anything else in it. 

I do assert, however, without hesitation : 

1. That a natural body is an aggregate of imperceptible 
particles which is subject to the operation of forces proceeding 
from the magnet, fire, and sometimes light also; in whatever 
way, indeed, passages may be found, whether between the par- 
ticles, or in the particles themselves, or in both. 

2. That a solid diflFers from a fluid in that in a fluid the 
imperceptible particles are in constant motion, and mutually 
withdraw from one another; while in a solid, although the 
imperceptible particles may sometimes be in motion, they 
hardly ever withdraw from one another so long as that solid 
remains a solid and intact. 

p. 11. 3. That while a solid body is being produced, its particles 
are in motion from place to place. 

4. That as yet we know of nothing in the nature of matter 
by the aid of which the principle of motion, and the perception 
of motion, can be explained; but that the determination of 
natural motions can be altered by three causes : 

(i) By the motion of a fluid permeating all bodies ; and we 

sary, useful, and pleasant, and of Ep.y 12. 11, where < the best things' are said to be < com- 
mon ' : gfuu optima sunt, esse communia. 


say that those things which are produced in this 
way are produced naturally. 

(2) By the motion of living beings; and many of those 

things which in this way are produced by man, are 
said to be artificial. 

(3) By ^^^ fi^'st and unknown cause of motion ; and even 

the pagans believed that there was something divine 
in motions which originate in this way. Surely 
to deny to this cause the power of accomplishing 
results contrary to the usual course of nature, is 
the same as to deny to man the power of changing 
the courses of rivers ; or of battling with sails against 
the winds ; or of kindling fire in places where with- 
out man fire would never be kindled ; or of quench- 
ing a light which would not wane except with the 
ceasing of its supply; or of ingrafting the shoot of 
one plant upon the branch of another; or of pro- 
ducing summer fruits in mid-winter months; or of 
making ice in the very heat of summer; or of a 
thousand other things of the kind which are in con- 
flict with the usual laws of Nature. For if we our- 
selves, who know not the structure of our own and 
other bodies, change the determination of natural 
motions every day, why cannot He change their 
P. 11. determination who not only knows our structure 

and that of all things, but also made them ? To be 
ready, again, to marvel at the cleverness of man 
acting with free will in the case of things done by 
his skill, and to deny a free agent to the products of 
Nature, would indeed seem to me to betoken great 
lack of penetration ; since when man has performed 
the most ingenious things, he cannot, save through 
a cloud, discern what he has done, or what instru- 
ment he has used, or what that cause is by which 
the instrument is moved. 

These details, proved both by experiments and by arguments, 
I shall set forth at greater length in the Dissertation itself, in 
order that it may be clear that there is no philosopher who 


does not say the same thing* although not ahtays in die same 
words ; or, if he has said otherwise, who does not, nevertheless, 
agree to the principles from which these details necessarily fc^ 
low. For the statements I have affirmed concerning matter 
hold true in all cases, whether one considers matter as atoms, 
or particles changeable in a thousand ways, or the four elements, 
or whatsoever chemical elements may be assumed to suit the 
differences of opinion among chemists. And further, the state- 
ments which I have made concerning the determination of 
motion, are consistent with every agent, whether you call 
the agent the form, or the qualities proceeding from the form, or 
the idea, or the tenuous common substance, or the tenuous 
particular substance, or the individual soul, or the world soul, 
or the immediate act of God. 

After these things I shall explain the various modes oi 
speaking admitted by common usage, whereby we explain in 
P. i». different ways the different production of different, and some- 
times the same, substances ; for whatever contributes anything 
to the production of any substance, does this either as place, or 
as matter, or as the agent Hence when like produces like, it 
contributes to that object the place, the matter, and the motion 
of production, just as the small plant enclosed within the seed 
of some plant receives from that parent plant the matter in 
which it has been produced, the matter from which it has been 
produced, and the motion of the particles by which it has 
received its form ; this same thing is true of animals enclosed 
within the egg of similar animals. 

While the particular form or soul is producing something, 
the motion of particles in the production of that body is 
determined by some particular agent, whether this be the 
agent of another similar body or something else similar to this 

The things which are said to be produced by the sun receive 
the motion of their particles from the sun's rays, just as those 
which are attributed to the influences of the stars may receive 
the motion of their particles from the stars ; for since it is cer- 
tain that our eyes are affected by the light of the heavenly 
bodies, it will also be beyond cavil that the rest of matter may 
be affected by them in the same way. 


The things which the earth bears receive from the earth 
nothing except the place in which they are produced and the 
matter supplied to them through the pores of the place, 
The things which are produced by Nature receive the motion 

P. 14. of their particles from the motion of a penetrating fluid, 
whether this fluid come from the sun, or from the fire con- 
tained within the matter of the earth, or from some other cause 
unknown to us, as the agency of the soul, and so on. 

He, therefore, who attributes to Nature the production of any 
thing, names the universal agent which appears in the produc- 
tion of all things; he who calls the sun to share, limits that 
agent a little more ; he who names the soul or the particular 
form, mentions a more limited cause than the rest: but one 
who nevertheless duly weighs the answers of all, finds nothing 
known, seeing that Nature, the sun's rays, the soul, and the 
particular form, are things known only by name. But since, 
besides the agent, matter and place ought to be taken account 
of in the production of substances, it is clear that the answer 
(" produced by Nature ") is not only more unknown than the very 
thing under investigation, but altogether incomplete ; as, for ex- 
ample, mollusks found on land are said to have been produced 
by Nature, while those that grow in the sea are also Nature's 
work. Nature indeed produces all things, seeing that the pen- 
etrating fluid has a place in the production of all things; but 
one may also say with truth that Nature produces nothing, 
since that fluid by itself accomplishes nothing; its determina- 
tion depends upon the place and the matter to be moved. We 
find an illustration in man : he can produce anything if all the 
necessary things are at hand, but if they are wanting, can pro- 
duce nothing. 

P. 15. He who attributes the production of anything to the earth, 
names the place indeed, but since the earth affords place, in 
part at least, to all the things of earth, the place alone does not 
account for the production of the body. The same thing can 
be said about the earth as about Nature; that is, the things 
which are formed in the earth are all produced by the earth, 
and of those things which are formed in the earth none is pro- 
duced by the earth. 


The few points set forth above suffice for the solution of all 
the doubtful issues in our inquiry, and I have desired to sum 
them up now in the three following propositions : 


If a solid body is enclosed on all sides by another solid body, 
of the two bodies that one first became hard which, in the 
mutual contact, expresses on its own surface the properties of 
the other surface. Hence it follows : 

1. That in the case of those solids, whether of earth, or rock, 
which enclose on all sides and contain crystals, selenites, mar- 
casites,^ plants and their parts, bones and the shells of animals, 
and other bodies of this kind which are possessed of a smooth 
surface, these same bodies had already become hard at the time 
when the matter of the earth and rock containing them was 
still fluid. And not only did the earth and rock not produce 
the bodies contained in them, but they did not even exist as 

P. !«. such when those bodies were produced in them. 

2. That if a crystal is enclosed in part by a crystal, a selenite 
by a selenite, a marcasite by a marcasite, those contained 
bodies had already become hard when a part of the containing 
bodies was still fluid. 

3. That in the earth and rock in which crystalline and petri- 
fied shells, veins of marble, of lapis lazuli, silver, mercury, anti- 
mony, cinnabar, copper, and other minerals of this kind are 
contained, the containing bodies had already become hard at 
the time when the matter of the contained bodies was stiU 
fluid; and that, consequently, the marcasites were produced 
first, then the stones in which the marcasites are enclosed, and» 
finally, the veins of minerals which fill the fissures of the rock. 


If a solid substance is in every way like another solid sub- 
stance, not only as regards the conditions of surface, but also 
as regards the inner arrangement of parts and particles, it will 
also be like it as regards the manner and place of production, 
if you except those conditions of place which are found time 

* By the term " crystals," Steno means mineral quartz (cf. p. 237) ; seleniles refers to crys- 
tals of gyp3um, and marcasiies to pyrites (cf. p. 225, n. i). 


and again in some place to furnish neither any advantage nor 
disadvantage to the production of the body. Whence it 
follows : 
P. 17. I. That the strata of the earth, as regards the place and 
manner of production, agree with those strata which turbid 
water deposits. 

2. That the crystals of mountains, as regards the manner 
and place of production, agree with the crystals of niter,^ al- 
though it is not therefore essential that the fluid in which they 
were produced should have been aqueous. 

3. That those bodies which are dug from the earth and 
which are in every way like the parts of plants and animals, 
were produced in precisely the same manner and place as the 
parts of the plants and the animals were themselves produced. 
But in order that no uncertain interpretation of the term place 
may beget new doubts, I shall forestall that difficulty here. 

By the term place I mean that matter which with its own 
surface is in immediate contact with the surface of the body 
which is said to be in that place. But that matter allows sun- 
dry diflFerences, for : 

(i)' It is either wholly solid, or wholly fluid, or partly solid 
and partly fluid. 

(2) It is either wholly perceptible by itself, or partly percep- 

tible by itself and partly perceptible through tests. 

(3) It is either wholly contiguous to the body which it con- 

tains within itself, or even partly continuous with the 
same body. 

(4) It is either always the same or undergoes change gradu- 

ally. Thus the place in which a plant is produced is 
the matter, like that of the plant, within which the 
minute plant receives its form. Thus the place in 
which the plant grows is all that matter which, with 
its own surface, is in immediate contact with the 
entire surface of the plant, consisting sometimes of 
P. It. earth and air, sometimes of earth and water, some- 

times of earth, water, and air; sometimes of only 
stone and air, as in underground places I have time 

^ Steno was, of course, ignorant of the chemical difference between quartz and niter. The 
first b silicon dioxide, SiO,, and the second is saltpeter, NaNo,. 


and again seen the roots of small plants, without any 
covering of earth at all, clinging to the surface of the 
tuff. Thus the place where the orange grows, after 
the blossom has fallen, is partly the peduncle continu- 
ous with it, and partly the air contiguous to it. Thus 
the place where the first growth occurs in animals, is 
partly the amniotic fluid contiguous to it, and partly 
the umbilical vessels scattered through the chorion, 
continuous with it. 


If a solid body has been produced according to the laws of 
nature, it has been produced from a fluid. 

In the production of a solid body, both its first outlines and 
its growth should be taken into account; but as I freely con- 
fess that the outline of most of the bodies is not only doubtful 
to me, but wholly unknown, so do I believe, without any hesi- 
tation, thg.t nearly all the following statements concerning their 
growth are true. 

A body grows while new particles, secreted from an external 
fluid, are being added to its particles. This addition, more- 
over, takes place either immediately from an external fluid, or 
through one or more mediating internal fluids. 

The additions which are made directly to a solid from an 
P. 19. external fluid sometimes fall to the bottom from their own 
weight, as sediments do ; sometimes the additions are made to 
a solid on all sides from a fluid bearing matter toward the solid, 
as in the case of incrustations ; or the additions are made only 
to certain places of the solid surface, as in the case of those 
bodies which present fibres, branches, and angular bodies.^ 
Here it must be noted in passing that the processes mentioned 
sometimes continue until an entire cavity is filled with such 
additions, and hence replacements occur which are sometimes 
simple, are sometimes formed from incrustations, sometimes 
from sediments, sometimes from angular bodies, and some- 
times from various bodies variously intermingled. 

The particles which are added to a solid by a mediating 

1 Angulaia corpora is the phrase used by Steno to denote crystals in general ; crystaUus is 
confined to quartz. See p. 218, n. i. 


internal fluid either take on the form of fibres (since they are 
partly added through open pores along the length of the ex- 
tended fibril, and are partly disposed in the interstices of the 
fibrils into the form of a new fibril by the permeating fluid), or 
form simple replacements: and in these two ways plants and 
animals are formed. Since I am less familiar with the anatomy 
of plants, I do not decide whether there are present several 
internal fluids ; but it is certain that in animals di£ferent inter- 
nal fluids are to be found, and I shall try to reduce these to a 
definite classification. 

Besides the attenuated fluid permeating all things, we note in 
the case of animals at least three kinds of fluids, of which the 
first is external ; the second is internal and common, the third 
P. ao. an internal fluid peculiar to each part. By the term external 
fluid I mean that fluid in animals which not only surrounds the 
surface exposed to our eyes, as the atmosphere, but also that 
which is in contact with all the remaining surfaces of the body 
which are continuous with it through the larger foramina of the 
surface, such as the entire surface of the trachea, with which the 
air inhaled in breathing comes in contact ; the entire surface of 
the alimentary canal, by which I mean the mouth, the oesopha- 
gus, the stomach, and the intestines ; the entire surface of the 
bladder, and of the urethra; the entire surface which com- 
municates with the uterus, especially in the years of puberty ; 
the entire surface of all the excretory organs from the capillaries 
even to the orifices which discharge their contents into the 
ears, eyelids, nose, eyes, alimentary canal, bladder, urethra, 
uterus, and skin — a separate enumeration of which would show 
that many are truly external which are commonly considered in- 
ternal, nay, even internal in the highest degree, and hence it 
follows : 

1. That worms and calculi are generated within our body 

and that most are formed in the external fluid. 

2. That many parts are essential to certain animals be- 

cause they have them, not because the animal cannot 
exist without them. 

A fluid which is in contact with these surfaces I call external 
because it communicates with the surrounding fluid by means 


of canals without intermediate capillary veins, that is, without 
P. «i. cribration ; and the result is that although the cavities contain- 
ing the fluids mentioned may be closed at times, still whenever 
they are opened, they discharge all their retained fluid without 
a dividing membrane. 

I call that fluid internal which does not communicate with the 
external fluid except through the intermediate strainers of the 
capillary veins, and therefore never discharges all its contents 
naturally into the external fluid without a dividing membrane. 

The internal common fluid is that which is contained in the 
veins, arteries, and lymphatic ducts, at least in those ducts which 
connect the conglobate glands^ and the veins. I call this fluid 
common because it is distributed over all parts of the body. 
Concerning another common fluid which resides in the nerve 
substance, I have nothing to say, because it is unknown. 

The internal peculiar fluid is that fluid which is sent about in 
the capillary veins of the common fluid, and which varies with 
the diversity of places ; for it is one thing in bloody parenchy- 
mata,^ another in bloodless parenchymata, another around the 
muscle fibres,' another in the capsule of the ovum, another in 
the substance of the uterus, and still another in other places. 
For that belief accords with neither reason nor experience, which 
supposes that the ends of the veins and arteries terminate in the 
smallest possible particle of the body for the distribution of 
warmth and nourishment at that point.* But there are cavities 
everywhere, and the elements which have been secreted into 
these cavities from the blood are mingled with the fluid of that 

* The lymphatic glands, as shown by Steno's treatise De GlanduUs Oris et Novis inde 
Prodeuntibus Salivae Vasis^ printed by Maar (Vol. I, p. 20, and note, p. 227). 

2 The ti2im^ parenchyma was given by Erasistratus to the peculiar substance of the lungs, 
liver, kidneys, and spleen, on the theory that this substance, as distinguished from the flesh of 
the muscles, was formed from the blood which flowed from the veins and coagulated in the 
organs mentioned. See Galen, IIcpi rrj^ rwv ^^pfuxKiav Kpacrco)? kgu Awaftcois, book XI, 
prooemium ; and €i? to irepl ^ixrcois avOpwrov 6t)3A.(ov 'IinroKpaTovs 'Yirofivrffui irpStTO¥f 4 
(edition of Mewaldt, Helmreich, and Westenberger, Leipzig, 1914, p. 6). 

• Steno's phrase is circa fibras matrices. This is defined in Elementarum Myologiae Sped- 
nutiy Maar, op, cit., Vol. II, p. 69: *The fibra matrix is a certain bundle of very minute 
fibrillae closely joined longitudinally. ... I call such a fibre matrix because it seems to me 
to be the true organ of motion in an animal. For the muscle is nothing except a collection 
of such fibres.' 

< Steno refers to the theory commonly accepted before Harvey's demonstration of the circu- 
lation of the blood. This is the view expounded in Plato's Timaeus (79, 80), a work which, 
in a crude Latin translation, profoundly influenced the science of the Middle Ages. 


P. St. particular place, thereupon to be added to the solid parts, just 
as the particles worn from the solid parts flow back into the 
same cavities, to be restored to the blood again in order that 
with its help they may be carried back to the external fluid. 
The doctrine concerning the fluid of these cavities agrees in 
many ways with the teaching of the great Hippocrates ^ concern- 
ing air. 

Although I may not be able to determine why different fluids 
are secreted in di£ferent places from the same blood, I hope, 
nevertheless, that a few things hold true for determining that 
question ; since it is certain that such secretion does not depend 
upon the blood, but upon the places themselves. An examina- 
tion of this matter is comprised under these three heads : 

1. The consideration of the capillary veins of the internal 
common fluid ; with which alone they concern themselves who 
attribute all things to cribration through the different pores — 
with whom I, too, was for a long time numbered. 

2. The consideration of the internal peculiar fluid, with which 
alone they busy themselves who ascribe a special ferment to 
each part. Their belief may be partially true, although the 
name ferment rests upon a comparison taken ^ from too specific 
a process. 

3. The consideration of the particular parts of a solid ; and 
upon this they especially lay emphasis who acknowledge, by 
ascribing to each part its own form, that they recognize in it 
something peculiar to that part, but which is unknown to us, 
and which, according to the knowledge of matter which we have 
so far gained, can be nothing else than the porous surface of 

P. ». that solid, and the attenuated fluid permeating the pores. 

I should wander too far afield if I were to apply the foregoing 
statements to the explanation of those things which take place 
in our body every day, and still they cannot otherwise be ex- 
plained. It will suffice to have hinted here that the particles 
which separate from the external fluid in various ways are 
carried into the internal common fluid through the intervening 

^ The TLtpa ^^vaiay of Hippocrates assigns air in the body as the cause of all diseases, and 
different diseases as merely due to different organs thus affected ; cf. the edition of Hippoc- 
rates by Uttr^, Vol. VI, pp. 92, 104-106, and Maar, ofi. cit„ Vol. II, p. 335. 

'For desumpta in the Florentine edition of 1669 read desumptae. 


cribration, and that after having been secreted from it likewise 
in various ways, and having been transmitted into the internal 
peculiar fluid by fresh cribration, they are added to the solid 
parts in the form of either fibres or parenchymata, according as 
they have been directed by the property of a given part, un- 
known to us, included in the consideration of the three forego- 
ing statements. 

If, now, we wish to reduce to definite classes the solids 
naturally contained within solids in the fashion indicated, we 
shall find some of them produced by accretion from the external 
fluid, which are due either to deposits, as the strata of the 
earth; or to incrustations, as the agate, onyx, chalcedony, 
eaglestone,^ bezoar,^ and so on ; or to filaments, as the amian- 

* The Latin word is aetites. The *eaglestone' is defined thus by the New Oxford Dic- 
tionary : ^*' A hollow nodule or pebble of argillaceous oxide of iron, having a loose nucleus, 
which derived its name from being &bled to be found in the eaglets nest, and to which medic- 
inal and magical properties were ascribed."" 

Some of these properties are mentioned by Damigeron, de Lapidibus^ Lapis Aetites: 

' The aetites is a very great safeguard of nature ; God gave this stone to men as a protection 
to health. The eagle carries the stone to its nest from the uttermost parts of the earth for the 
sake of guarding its eggs. . . . The aetites has a purple color and a very rough appearance, 
and has another stone within it, as if it were pregnant. It is useful to pregnant women, for 
when bound upon the left arm it prevents abortion. It is also very useful for accelerating 
parturition. For if taken from the woman^s arm, and ground and placed upon her back, it 
will bring her immediate release. Furthermore, it will preserve the one who wears it, for it 
will make him sober and superior to all things ; it will increase his wealth and spread about 
his good repute, and he will be most agreeable. ... It is a remedy for insanity and 
unspeakable terrors, preserving the sufferers from dreaming and frequently falling. If you 
suspect that there is a poi.soner in your home, put the stone in a relish and invite the suspect 
to dinner. If he is a poisoner, he will eat nothing, and if he ventures to swallow, he will not 
be able to do so. Such power has this stone. But if you remove the stone from the relish, 
the criminal will begin to eat and make merry. The wearing of the stone also greatly lessens 
anger incurred from powerful men. This stone is a sort of safeguard ; the eagle uses it as 
a preventive against harm. For the eagle carries it from a never-failing river and puts it 
against the young in the nest to keep them from being harmed by another bird." Abel, 
Orphei Lithica^ accedit Damigeron de Lapidibus (Berlin, 1881), pp. 163, 164. 

Similar statements are found in Pliny, N, H.y X. 12 (3) ; XXX. 130 (14). Val. Rose, 
in his study of the sources of Damigeron {Hermesy Vol. IX, 1875, pp. 471-491), cites an in- 
teresting parallel from Demosthenes, Concerning Stones, pp. 481, 482. 

Palissy (cf. p. 208) ventures an independent opinion as to the origin of the aetites : ^Ml y a 
beaucoup d"autres pierres qui sont fbrm^es selon le suiet qu"ils ont pris, comme quelques 
autres pierres que i"ay veues que Ton nomme Pierre d"Algle. Quelque chose que Ton en die, 
ie croy que ce n"est autre chose qu"un fruit lapifi^, et ce qui ioue dedans est le noyau, qui 
estant amoindry quand on secoue ladite pierre, ledit noyau frappe des deux costez dMcelle."" 
(Euvres Completes de Bernard Falissy, by Paul-Antoine Cap, Paris, 1844^ p. 284. 

^ An account of the medical history of the Besoar is given by A. Laboulb^ne in Diction- 


thus, feathery alum, different kinds of veins which I have 
observed in the fissures of rocks ; or to dendrites, as those forms 
of plants which are seen in the chinks of stones, except that 
certain ramifications- in an agate which I have seen, whose 
trunks rested on the surface of the outer lamella but whose 
branches spread throughout the substance of the inner lamella, 
are merely superficial ; or to angular bodies, as the crystals of 
P. M. mountains, the angular bodies of iron and copper, cubes ^ of 
marcasites, diamonds, amethysts, and the like; or to replace- 
ments, as variegated marbles of every kind, granites, dendrites, 
petrified mollusks, crystalline substances, metallic plants, and 
many similar bodies filling the places of bodies which have 
been destroyed. 

Other solids are produced by accretion from the internal 
fluid ; and these are due either to simple replacements, as fat, 
the callus uniting broken bones, the cartilaginous substance 
joining severed tendons, the tissues which chiefly form the sub- 
stance of the viscera, the medulla in both plants and animals ; 
or to fibrous growths, as the fibrous parts of plants, the nerve 
fibres and muscle fibres in animals, also, which are all solid 
bodies and are naturally enclosed, for the most part, within solids. 
If, therefore, every solid has had its accretions, at any rate, 
from a fluid, if bodies similar to one another in all respects were 
also produced in a similar way, and if of two contiguous solids 
that one first became hard which exhibits on its own surface the 

fioire Encyclopidique des Sciences MidicaUs^ Tome Neuvi^me (Paris, 1868), pp. 221-225. 
Steno refers, of course, to the fossil, which is briefly alluded to in the work mentioiied, p. 225 : 
'* Le b^zoard fossile ^tait compost de masses globuleuses de carbonate de chaux, r^uoies en 
couches concentriques." , 

A fuller description of the stone is quoted by Maar {pp, cU.y Vol. II, p. 336) from the 
DicHannaire RaisantU Universel ctHistoire NaturelUy by Valmont-Bomare, 3d ed., Lyon, 
1 791, Vol. II, p. 230: 

^Une pierre arrondie, de couleur cendr^e, composde de couches concentriques, friables, 
depuis la grosseur d^une aveline jusq^k celle dMn oeuf d^oie. Au centre de cette pierre est 
quelquefois un grain de sable, une petite coquille, ou un morceau de charbon de terre. Une 
de ces matieres a servi de noyau, de point d^appui, et venant k rouler sur des terres molles, 
k demi-tremp^es, elle s^est ainsi accrue par couches roul^es comme une pelotte de rubans.^ 

^ For uhi of the Florentine edition read cubi^ with Maar, op. cit,^ Vol. II, p. 195. By 
f cubes of marcasite ^^ Steno, in common with the older scientists, means pyrites. Marcasite 
has the same chemical composition as pyrites, FeS„ being iron disulphide. But marcasite 
crystallizes in orthorhombic form, whereas pyrites crystallizes in the cubic system. See H. 
N. Stokes, On Pyrite and MarccuUe^ in Bulletin of United States Geological Survey ^ No. 186 


characteristics of the other's surface, it will be easy, granted 
a solid and the place in which it is, to affirm something definite 
about the place of its production. And this, indeed, is the 
general question of a solid contained within a solid. 

I pass to the more particular investigation of those solids dug 
from the earth which have given rise to many disputes ; espe- 
P. w. cially incrustations, deposits, angular bodies, the shells of marine 
animals, of moUusks, and the forms of plants. Under incrusta- 
tions belong rocks of every kind consisting of layers, whose 
two surfaces are indeed parallel but not extended in the same 
plane. The place where incrustations are formed is the entire 
common boundary of fluid and solid ; and the result is that the 
form of the layers or crusts corresponds to the form of the 
place, and it is easy to determine which of them hardened first, 
which last. For if the place was concave, the outer layers were 
formed first; if convex, the inner ;^ if the place was uneven 
because of various larger projections, the new layers were pro- 
duced in the larger spaces when the narrower spaces had been 
filled with the formation of the first layers. 

From this fact it is easy to account for all the differences of 
form which are seen in sections of similar rocks, whether they 
show the round veins of a tree cut transversely, or resemble the 
sinuous folds of serpents, or run along, curved in any other way, 
without law. Nor is it surprising that agates and other kinds 
of incrustations seem, so far as regards their outer surface, 
rough like ordinary stones,^ since the outer surface of the outer 
layer imitates the roughness of the place. In torrents, however, 
incrustations of this kind are more frequently found outside of 
the place of their production, because the matter of the place 
has been scattered by a breaking up of the strata. 

Concerning the manner in which particles of the layers 
P. M. which are to be added to a solid are separated from the fluid, 
the following at least is certain : 

^ The reference is doubtless to the formation of secretions in the first instance, and con- 
cretions in the second. 

' The Florentine edition reads saxis ignobilis instar asperos ; this is partially corrected iik 
th^ Ley den edition of 1679 ^^ ^^^* ^^c* '^^^ correct reading saxt ignobilis instar asperos is 
given by Maar, op, cit,, Vol. II, p. 196. 


1. That there is in it no place for buoyancy or gravity. 

2. That the particles are added to surfaces of every kind, 
since surfaces smooth, rough, plane, curved, and consisting of 
several planes at different angles of inclination, are found over- 
spread by the layers, 

3. That movement of the fluid causes them no hindrance. 
Whether the substance under consideration which flows 

from a solid, be different from that substance which moves the 
parts of the fluid, or whether something else is to be sought, I 
leave undecided. 

Different kinds of layers in the same place can be caused 
either by a difference of the particles which withdraw from the 
fluid one after the other, as this same fluid is gradually disin- 
tegrated more and more, or from different fluids carried thither 
at different times. From this fact it follows that the same 
arrangement of layers sometimes recurs in the same place, and 
often evident traces revealing the entrance of new matter re- 
main. But all the matter of the layers seems to be a finer sub- 
stance emanating from the stones, as will further appear in the 


The strata of the earth are due to the deposits of a fluid : 

1. Because the comminuted matter of the strata could not 
have been reduced to that form unless, having been mixed with 

p. 17. some fluid and then falling from its own weight, it had been 
spread out by the movement of the same superincumbent fluid. 

2. Because the larger bodies contained in these same strata 
obey, for the most part, the laws of gravity, not only with re- 
spect to >the position of any substance by itself, but also with 
respect to the relative position of different bodies to each other. 

3. Because the comminuted matter of the strata has so ad- 
justed itself to the bodies contained in it that it has not only 
filled all the smallest cavities of the contained body, but has 
also expressed the smoothness and lustre of the body in that 
part of its own surface where it is in contact with the body, 
although the roughness of the comminuted matter by no means 
admits of similar smoothness and lustre. 

Sediments, moreover, are formed so long as the contents in 



a fluid fall to the bottom of their own weight, whether the said 
contents have been carried thither from some other where, or 
have been secreted gradually from the particles of the fluid, 
that too, either in the upper surface, or equally from all the par- 
ticles of the fluid. Although a close relationship exists be- 
tween crusts and sediments, they can nevertheless be distin- 
guished easily because the upper surface of crusts is parallel to 
the lower surface, however rough ^ this may be from various 
larger projections, while the upper surface of sediments is paral- 
lel to the horizon, or deviates but slightly therefrom. So in 
rivers, the mineral layers, now green, now yellow, now reddish, 
do not remove the unevenness of a stony bottom, while a sedi- 
ment of sand or clay makes all level ; and it is due to this fact 
P. «t. that in the formation of the different composite strata of the 
earth I have easily distinguished crusts from sediments. 

Concerning the matter of the strata the following can be 
affirmed : 

1 . If all the particles in a stony stratum are seen to be of the 
' same character, and fine, it can in no wise be denied that this 

stratum was produced at the time of the creation from a fluid 
which at that time covered all things; and Descartes* also 
accounts for the origin of the earth's strata in this way. 

2. If in a certain stratum the fragments of another stratum, 
or the parts of animals and plants are found, it is certain that 
the said stratum must not be reckoned among the strata which 
settled down from the first fluid at the time of the creation. 

3. If in a certain stratum we discover traces of salt of the 
sea, the remains of marine animals, the timbers of ships, and a 
substance similar to the bottom of the sea, it is certain that the 
sea was at one time in that place, whatever be the way it came 
there, whether by an overflow of its own or by the upheaval of 

4. If in a certain stratum we find a great abundance of rush, 
grass, pine cones, trunks and branches of trees, and similar ob- 

^ aspera, Florentine edition, is an error for asperae. 

« The reference is to Descartes, Principia Philosophiae (first edition Amsterdam, 1644), 
Pars Quartay XXXII ff. See CEuvres de Descartes^ PubUies par Charles Adam et Paul 
Tanruryy Paris, Vol. VIII (i905)» P- 220 if. 


jects, we rightly surmise that this matter was swept thither by 
the flooding of a river, or the inflowing of a torrent. 

5. If in a certain stratum pieces of charcoal, ashes, pumice- 
stone, bitumen,! and calcined matter appear, it is certain that a 

P. ». fire occurred in the neighborhood of the fluid ; the more so if 
the entire stratum is composed throughout of ash and charcoal, 
such as I have seen outside the city of Rome, where the mate- 
rial for burnt bricks is dug. 

6. If the matter of all the strata in the same place be the 
same, it is certain that that fluid did not take in fluids of a dif- 
ferent character flowing in from different places at different times. 

7. If in the same place the matter of the strata be different, 
either fluids of a different kind streamed in thither from differ- 
ent places at different times (whether a change of winds or an 
unusually violent downpour of rains in certain localities be the 
cause) or the matter in the same sediment was of varying grav- 
ity, so that first the heavier particles, then the lighter, sought 
the bottom. And a succession of storms might have given rise 
to this diversity, especially in places where a like diversity of 
soils is seen. 

8. If within certain earthy strata stony beds are found, it is 
certain either that a spring of petrifying waters existed in the 
neighborhood of that place, or that occasionally eruptions of sub- 
terranean vapors occurred, or that the fluid, leaving the sediment 
which had been deposited, again returned when the upper crust 

•^ had become hardened by the sun's heat. 

Concerning the position of strata, the following can be con- 
sidered as certain : 

I. At the time when a given stratum was being formed, there v 

was beneath it another substance which prevented the further 
P. io. descent of the comminuted matter ; and so at the time when the 
lowest stratum was being formed either another solid substance 
was beneath it, or if some fluid existed there, then it was not 
only of a different character from the upper fluid, but also 
heavier than the solid sediment^ of the upper fluid. 

^ The inclusion of bitumen in the list indicates that Steno was ignorant of its true nature 
as an organic compound. 

* sedimenta^ Florentine edition, is an error for sedimento. 




\ , 2, At the time when one of the upper strata was being 

formed, the lower stratum had already gained the consistency 
of a solid. 

3. At the time when any given stratum was being formed it 
was either encompassed on its sides by another solid substance, 
or it covered the entire spherical surface of the earth. Hence 
it follows that in whatever place the bared sides of the strata are 
seen, either a continuation of the same strata must be sought, or 
another solid substance must be found which kept the matter of 
the strata from dispersion. 

4. At the time when any given stratum was being formed, 
all the matter resting upon it was fluid, and, therefore, at the 
time when the lowest stratum was being formed, none of the 
upper strata existed. 

As regards form, it is certain that at the time when any given 
stratum was being produced its lower surface, as also its lateral 
surfaces, corresponded to the surfaces of the lower substance 
and lateral substances, but that the upper surface was parallel 
to the horizon, so far as possible ; and that all strata, therefore, 
except the lowest, were bounded by two planes parallel to the 
P. 91, horizon. Hence it follows that strata either perpendicular to 
the horizon or inclined toward it, were at one time parallel to 
the horizon. 

Moreover, the changed position of strata and their exposed 
sides, such as are seen to-day in many places, do not contradict 
my statements; since in the neighborhood of those places evi- 
dent traces of fires and waters are to be found. For just as 
water disintegrating earthy material carries it down sloping 
places not only on the surface of the earth but also in the earth's 
cavities ; so fire, breaking up whatever solids oppose it, not only 
drives out their lighter particles but also sometimes hurls forth 
their heaviest weights; and the result is that on the surface of 
the earth are formed steeps, channels, and hollows, while in the 
bowels of the earth subterranean passages and caverns are pro- 

By reason of these causes the earth's strata can change posi- 
tion in two ways : 



The first process is the violent thrusting up of the strata, 
whether this be due to a sudden burning of subterranean gases, 
or be brought about through the violent explosion of air due to 
other great downfalls near by. This thrusting up of the strata 
is followed by a scattering of the earthy matter as dust and the 
breaking up of rocky matter into lapilli and rough fragments. 

The second process is the spontaneous slipping or downfall 
of the upper strata after they have begun to form cracks, in con- 
sequence of the withdrawal of the underlying substance, or 
foundation. Hence by reason of the diversity of the cavities 
P. w. and cracks the broken strata assume different positions ; while 
some remain parallel to the horizon, others become perpendic- 
ular to it, many form oblique angles with it, and not a few are 
twisted into curves because their substance is tenacious. This 
change can take place either in all the strata overlying a cavity, 
or in certain lower strata only, the upper strata being left unbroken. 

The altered position of the strata a£fords an easy explanation 
of a variety of matters otherwise obscure. Herein may be 
found a reason for that unevenness in the surface of the earth 
which furnishes occasion for so many controversies; an un- 
evenness manifest in mountains, valleys, elevated bodies of 
water, elevated plains, and low plains. But passing over the 
rest, I shall now treat briefly certain points concerning moun- 



p. 83. 


That alteration in the position of strata is the chief cause of 
mountain formation is clear from the fact that in any given 
range of mountains there may be seen : 

1 . Large level spaces on the summits of some mountains. 

2. Many strata parallel to the horizon. 

3. Various strata on the sides of the mountains inclined at 
different angles to the horizon. 

4. Broken strata on the opposite sides of hills, showing abso- 
lute agreement in form and material. 

5. Exposed edges of strata. 

6. Fragments of broken strata at the foot of the same range, 
partly piled into hills, and partly scattered over the adjoining 



7. Either in the rock of the mountains themselves, or in their 
neighborhood, very clear traces of subterranean fire; just as 
many springs are found around hills which are made up of 
strata of earth. And here it must be observed in passing that 
the hills which are formed of earthy strata, for the most part, 
have as their foundation larger fragments of stony strata ; these 
in many places keep the earthy strata placed upon them from 
being swept away by the current of neighboring rivers and 
torrents. Further, they often protect entire regions against the 
violence of the ocean, as the extended reefs of BraziP and 
exposed craggy shores everywhere bear witness. 

Mountains can also be formed in other ways, as by the 
eruption of fires which belch forth ashes and stones together 
with sulphur and bitumen; and also by the violence of rains 
and torrents, whereby the stony strata, which have already be- 
come rent apart by the alternations of heat and cold, are 
tumbled headlong, while the earthy strata, forming cracks 
under great blasts of heat, are broken up into various parts. 
And from this it is clear that the chief classes of mountains and 
hills are two: first, of those which consist of strata; of these 
there are two kinds, since in some, strata of rock prevail, in 
others, strata of earth. The second class is composed of moun- 
tains which rise without order or anangement from fragments 
of strata and from parts, further, which have been worn away. 

Hence it could be easily shown : 

I. That all present mountains did not exist from the begin- 
ning of things. 
P. a4. 2. That there is no growing ^ of mountains. 

^ Steno^s information regarding Brazil was probably gained from a book called Histaria 
Naturalis Brastliaey Amsterdam, 1648. The volume contains Piso^s De Medkina Brasiliensi 
Ubri QuatuoTy and George Musgrave's Histariae Rerum Natnralium Brasiliae Ubri Octo, 
No doubt Casper Barlaeus^s Rerum per Octennium in Brasilia sub Praefectura MauriiH 
Nasovii Historia (Amsterdam, 1647) was also known to him. 

Willem Piso (1611-1678) was a member of the Brazilian expedition of Count Jan Maurits 
from 1636 to 1644. Steno had known Piso in Leyden and in 1664 addressed to him the letter 
on the Anatomy of the Ray {De Anatonu Rajae Epistola) printed by Maar, Opera Philosophical 
Vol. I, pp. 193-207. Robert Boyle refers frequently to Piso's History of Brazil, 

^ Steno^s word is vegetatio^ which suggests the growth of an organism ; but he does not 
hesitate to use crescere of inorganic accretions. The passage quoted by Maar, op. cit.j Vol. II, 
P< 338, from Fabronius (^Vitae Italarum (p. 202), Vol. Ill, p. 72), is singularly apposite. In 


3. That the rocks or mountains have nothing in common 
with the bones of animals except a certain resemblance in hard- 
ness, since they agree in neither matter nor manner of pro- 
duction, nor in composition, nor in function, if one may be 

1657 MoDtanari and Boni, master of the mint in Vienna, journeyed to Stiermark, Bohemia, 
and Hungary to examine the mines. I translate : 

'They also investigated whether metals grow in the same manner as plants do, that is by 
means of a circulating sap of the earth. They thought they knew, from the surest proofs, that 
metals do indeed grow (crescere) — iron rather rapidly and gold more slowly. But how this 
took place they were unable to decide, although Montanari inclined to believe that the growth 
(maiuriiatem) was caused by accretion (fermentationi), . . . And he made fun of the levity 
and weakness of those who believed the testimony of George Agricola that gnomes flit and 
wander about the mines, by whom the workmen are often disturbed.' 

Agricola (1494-1555), scientist though he was, fully believed in gnomes. Compare De Re 
AfetaUicaj Book VI, p. 217, edition of Hoover (London, 191 2) : 

^ In some of our mines, however, though in very few, there are other pernicious pests. 
These are demons of ferocious aspect, about which I have spoken in my book De Animantibus 
Subterraneis (the last paragraph). Demons of this kind are expelled and put to flight by 
prayer and fasti ng.^' 

Agricola's credulity, however, did not extend to a belief in the ^growth ^ of mountains. On 
the contrary, he was perhaps the first to recognize clearly the fundamental agencies of moun- 
tain sculpture, as appears from De Ortu et Causis Subterranearum^ Book II [De Re Afetaliica, 
edition of Hoover, pp. 595, 596) : 

^ Hills and mountains are produced by two forces, one of which is the power of water, and 
the other the strength of the wind. There are three forces which loosen and demolish the 
mountains, for in this case, to the power of the water and the strength of the wind we must 
add the fire in the interior of the earth. Now we can plainly see that a great abundance of 
water produces mountains, for the torrents first of all wash out the soft earth, next carry away 
the harder earth, and then roll down the rocks, and thus in a few years they excavate the 
plains or slopes to a considerable depth ; this may be noticed in mountainous regions even by 
unskilled observers. By such excavation to a great depth through many ages, there rises an 
immense eminence on each side. When an eminence has thus arisen, the earth rolls down 
loosened by constant rain and split away by frost, and the rocks, unless they are exceedingly 
firm, since their seams are similarly softened by the damp, roll down into the excavations 
below. This continues until the steep eminence is changed into a slope. Each side of the 
excavation is said to be a mountain, just as the bottom is called a valley. 

^ Streams, moreover, and to a far greater extent rivers, effect the same results by their 
rushing and washing; for this reason they are frequently seen flowing either way between 
very high mountains which they have created, or close by the shore which borders them. . . . 
Nor did the hollow places which now contain the seas all formerly exist, nor yet the moun- 
tains which check and break their advance, but in many parts there was a level plain, until the 
force of winds let loose upon it a tumultuous sea and a scathing tide. By a similar process the 
impact of water entirely overthrows and flattens out hills and mountains. But these changes 
of local conditions, numerous and important as they are, are not noticed by the common 
people to be taking place at the very moment when they are happening, because, through their 
antiquity, the time, place, and manner in which they began is far prior to human memory. 

^ The wind produces hills and mountains in two ways : either when set loose and free from 
bonds, it violently moves and agitates the sand ; or else when, after having been driven into 
the hidden recesses of the earth by cold, as into a prison, it struggles with a great effort to 
burst out For hilb and mountains are created in hot countries, whether they are situated by 


permitted to affirm aught about a subject otherwise so little 
known as are the functions of things. 

4. That the extension of crests of mountains, or chains, as 
some prefer to call them, along the lines of certain definite 
zones of the earth, accords with neither reason nor experience.^ 

5. That mountains can be overthrown, and fields carried 
over from one side of a high road across to the other; that 
peaks of mountains can be raised and lowered, that the earth 
can be opened and closed again, and that other things of this 
kind occur which those who in their reading of history wish to 
escape the name of credulous, consider myths.^ 


The same alteration in the position of strata affords a pas- 
sage-way for things issuing from the earth, such as : 

1. Waters, which are shut up in mountain caves away from 
the air, gushing forth on the mountains, whether those waters 
come from subterranean reservoirs, or have been condensed 
in a place away from the upper air and then ejected. And this 
I believe to be very common, since in many caverns I have 
observed that everything both above and below was solid though 
the water nevertheless trickled there abundantly. 

2. Winds breaking forth from mountains, whether those 

the sea coasts or in districts remote from the sea, by the force of winds ; these no longer held 
in check by the valleys, but set free, heap up the sand and dust, which they gather from 
all sides, to one spot, and a mass arises and grows together. If time and space allow, it grows 
together and hardens, but if it be not allowed (and in truth this is more often the case), the 
same force again scatters the sand £ar and wide. . . . 

<^ Then, on the other hand, an earthquake either rends and tears away part of a mountain, 
or engulfs and devours the whole mountain in some fearful chasm. In this way it is recorded 
the Cybotus was destroyed, and it is believed that within the memory of man an island under 
the rule of Denmark disappeared. Historians tell us that Taygetus suffered a loss in this way, 
and that Therasia was swallowed up with the island of Thera. Thus it is clear that water and 
the powerful winds produce mountains, and also scatter and destroy them. Fire only con- 
sumes them, and does not produce at all, for part of the mountains — usually the inner part — 
takes fire." 

1 Steno is not referring to mountain-chains in the modem sense of the term ; he is reject- 
ing Kircher's theory of chains running from north to south and east to west over the 
entire surface of the earth. This is set forth in Mundus Subterraneus^ Amstelodami (1665), 
Vol. I, c. ix, p. 68 ff. Cf. Maar, op. cit,. Vol. II, p. 337. 

« For a nuidem exposition of Tuscan earth features, see Murchison, Geological Structure of 
the AlpSy in Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society^ vol. 5 (1849), PP- '57-3", especially 
pp. 263-308. 


winds be air expanded by heat or whether different fluids of 
P. 85. the air made violent by collision produced them. 

3. Ill-smelling exhalations, fiery or frigid ebullitions, and so 
on. And there is no longer any doubt of the fact that cold and 
dry places boil up without any trace of heat whenever water is 
poured upon them ; that a hot spring issues by the side of a 
very cold spring ; that in consequence of an earthquake a hot 
spring may be turned into a cold spring, and rivers change their 
course ; that valleys shut in on all sides discharge their gathered 
rain water into lower places ; that rivers gliding underneath the 
earth's surface are in places returned to the light of day ; that in 
laying foundations architects sometimes lose all their labor 
when they encounter a quicksand, as it is called ; ^ that in cer- 
tain places on digging wells water is at first found near the sur- 
face of the ground, then after digging to the depth of several 
yards new waters are discovered which at first, on the opening 
of a passage-way, leap forth beyond the height of the water 
already found ; that whole fields with trees and buildings sink 
gradually, or are engulfed suddenly, and hence vast lakes now 
exist where once stood cities ; that a plain is a source of danger 
to its inhabitants from catastrophes of this kind unless. they 
have made themselves sure about its foundation of rock; that 
abysses emitting a deadly gas are sometimes found which are 
again stopped up when a number of bodies have been cast into 



The same alteration in the position of strata has given rise 
to variegated stones of every kind, and at the same time 
p. S6. afiForded a repository for most minerals, whether the deposition 
took place in the cracks of the strata, or in those fissures which 
were, in respect to matter, dry but not yet hard, either between 
the layers or in their clefts ; or in the interstices between the 
upper and the lower strata after the falling of lower strata ; or 
in the places left empty by the decomposition of bodies therein 
contained. Whence it can be shown : 

I. That on the very slightest foundation, nay, apparently oii 

1 arena vway ^ living sand/ is Steno^s phrase. > m 


no foundation, have been based those minute and all but incon- 
ceivable subdivisions of veins made use of by diggers of min- 
erals; and that divination for the abundance of metal by means 
of roots and branches is, in consequence, as doubtful as is the 
ridiculous belief of certain Chinese concerning the head and tail 
of the dragon which they employ in finding a favorable place of 
burial in the mountains.^ 

2. That most of the minerals for which man's labor is spent 
did not exist at the beginning of things. 

3. That in the investigation of rocks many things can be 
disclosed which are attempted in vain in the study of the min- 
erals themselves, seeing that it is more than probable that all 
those minerals which fill either the clefts or expanded spaces of 
rocks had as their matter the vapor forced from the rocks them- 
selves, whether the deposition took place before the strata 
changed their position, as I believe happened in the mountains 
of Peru,2'or when the strata had already changed their position ; 
and that a new metal can therefore form in the place of an 

P. w. exhausted one, as is believed rather than known concerning the 
mining of iron among the people of Elba, for the miner's tools 
and the idols which have been found there were surrounded 
not with iron but with earth.' 

And these things concerning the strata of the earth I thought 
ought to be investigated the more carefully, not only because 
the strata themselves are solids naturally enclosed within solids 
but also because in them are contained almost all those bodies 
which gave rise to the question propounded. 

^ This practice is mentioned by Kircher, Ckifta lUustrata (Amstelodami, 1667), p. 135, 
who quotes Trigautius, De Christiana Expeditione apud Sinas Suscepta (Augustae Vind., 
161 5), lib, I, ix, p. 95. ^One characteristic of the Chinese can be mentioned. In seeking a 
spot for building private and public structures, or for burying their dead, they examine the spot 
with the head, tail, and feet of various dragons which are supposed to live beneath it ; and 
they believe that all their adversity and prosperity depend upon the dragons.' Maar, op. a'i.^ 
Vol. II, p. 337. 

What is perhaps the first published description of the divining rod and its use in finding 
minerals or water, is given by Agricola, De Re MetalUca^ II, edition of Hoover, pp. 38-42. 
See also Robert Boyle, edition of Shaw, Vol. I, pp. 172, 173. 

^ The mineral deposits in the Peruvian mountains were ^miliar to Steno from de Acosta^s 
Historia Natural y Moral de Las Indias (Seuilla, 1590), iv, iv-v, and from de RosnePs Le 
Mercure IndieHy ou Le Tresor des Indes (Paris, 1667), Premiere Partie, Livre Premier, I-III. 
Maar, op, cit,y Vol. II, p. 337. 

' The belief that iron would <' grow ^ or replace itself in process of time, probably arose 
from finding limonite upon the tools mentioned in the text See above, p. 232, note 2. 



As regards the formation of crystal, I would not venture to 
declare in what manner its first shape is produced ; this at any 
rate is beyond dispute, that the things which it has been my 
lot to read in other writers concerning this subject are not to 
the point ; for neither irradiations, nor a shape of the particles 
resembling the shape of the whole, nor the perfection of the 
hexagonal form^ and the assembling of the parts about a com- 
mon centre, nor other things of this kind, accord with fact ; as 
will be clear from various propositions which I shall bring 
forward, proved elsewhere by conclusive experiments. But 
that no room may be left for doubt, it is well to explain before- 
hand the terms which I employ in naming the parts of a 

A crystal consists of two hexagonal pyramids and an inter- 
mediate prism likewise hexagonal. I call those angles the 
terminal solid angles which form the apexes of the pyramids, 
but those angles the intermediate solid angles which are formed 
by the union of the pyramids with the prism. In the same way 
P. M. I call the planes of the pyramids terminal planes^ and the 
planes of the prism the intermediate planes. The plane of the 
base is the section perpendicular to all the intermediate planes; 
a plane of the axis is a section in which lies the axis of the 
crystal, which consists of the axes of the pyramids and the axis 
of the prism. 

The place where the first hardening of a crystal begins, 
whether it be between a fluid and a fluid, or between a fluid 
and a solid, or even in a fluid itself, may remain in doubt ; but 
the place in which the crystal grows after it has already begun 
to form, is a solid in that part where the crystal is supported on 
it, jvhether the place be a stone or another crystal already 
formed. The remaining portion is fluid, if you except the 
obstructions which can present themselves to it from the 
unevenness of the rock or even from other crystals already 
formed. I would not venture to affirm whether the surround- 
ing fluid is aqueous ; and it matters not what is said about the 

' By crystal Steno meant rock crystal, which is the mineral quartz and has a hexagonal 


water enclosed within crystals, since it is certain that air 
together with water is contained therein, and that many crys- 
tals are found which enclose air alone. But if the crystal had 
indeed grown in an aqueous fluid, all the spaces enclosed on 
every side would be filled with water, ^ since it is an undisputed 
fact that water kept in that way never vanishes in any number 
of centuries. 

The cavities of the rocks, formed in different ways, as has 
been said above, afford this place for crystals, and the fact that 
entire hills consist of earthy substance packed with crystals, is 
no disproof, seeing that in the vicinity of the same hills are 
found mountains of rock suited to the formation of cr5rstals. 
P. ». And in those hills of earthy matter, large unburied rocks are 
pulled out which have been rent from neighboring mountains, 
and some of these show fissures filled with the material of 
marble, precisely as the fissures of strata in mountains of rock 
are filled. The same cause, moreover, which huried upon the 
hills the fragments of strata rent from the neighboring moun- 
tains, can likewise have sown over them broadcast the crystals 
which had been shaken out from cavities of the same strata. 

The following propositions will show what can be deter- 
mined concerning the place of the crystal to which new crystal- 
line matter is being added : 


A crystal grows while new crystalline matter is being added 
to the external planes of the crystal already formed. No room 
at all is here left for the belief of those who affirm that crystals 
grow, plantlike, by nourishment, and that they draw their 
nourishment on the side where they are attached to the matrix, 
and that the particles thus received from the fluid of the rock, 
and transmitted into the fluid of the crystal, are inwardly added 
to the particles of the crystal. 


This new crystalline matter is not added to all the planes 
but, for the most part, to the planes of the apex only, or to the 
terminal planes, with the result : 

^ This would not necessarily follow. 


1. That the intermediate planes, or the quadrilateral planes, 
are formed by the bases of the terminal planes, and hence the in- 
termediate planes are larger in some crystals, smaller in others, 
and wholly wanting in still others. 

2. That the intermediate planes are almost always striated, 
while the terminal planes retain traces of the matter added to 


P. 40. The crystalline matter is not added to all the terminal planes 
at the same time, nor in the same amount. Hence it comes to 

1. That the axis of the pyramids does not always continue 
the same straight line with the axis of the prism. 

2. That the terminal faces are rarely of a size, whence fol- 
lows an inequality of the intermediate planes. 

3. That the terminal faces are not always triangular, just as 
all the intermediate planes are not always quadrilateral. 

4. That the terminal solid angle is broken up into several 
solid angles, this being the case frequently also with the solid 
intermediate angles. 


An entire plane is not always covered by crystalline matter, 
but exposed places are left sometimes toward the angles, some- 
times toward the sides, and sometimes in the centre of the 
plane. Hence it happens : 

1. That the same plane, commonly so-called, does not have 
all its parts located in the same plane, but in different planes 
extending above it in different ways. 

2. That a plane, commonly so-called, in many places is seen 
to be not a plane but a protuberance. 

3. That in the intermediate planes inequalities rise like the 
steps of stairs. 

The crystalline matter added to planes upon the same planes 
is spread out by the enveloping fluid, and gradually hardens, 
with the result: 

I . That the surface of the crystal comes forth the smoother 
the more slowly the added matter has hardened, and is left 


wholly rough if the matter has hardened before it has spread 
p. 41. 2. That the manner in which the crystalline matter is added 
to the crystal can be distinguished, since where it has hardened 
suddenly, it reveals a surface full of small elevations like vari- 
olar postules, as it were, just as small drops of oily fluid are 
wont to float upon an aqueous fluid ; sometimes it shows also 
trilateral and depressed pyramids, if it has hardened somewhat 
more slowly. The tortuous fringes of the descending matter 
show now the place to which the fluid matter was being added, 
now the place toward which it was being advanced, now the 
arrangement of the matter added, that is, which came first, and 
which last. And in this way certain roughnesses always ap- 
pear in the crystals of mountains, nor have I ever seen a crystal 
whose still unbroken surfaces possess the lustre which the rent 
sides of the same crystal show after it has been broken, how- 
ever prolix writers on subjects relating to nature become in 
extolling the lustre of the crystal which is extracted from the 

3. That certain intruding solid bodies are enclosed within 
the crystal itself, as if they had been coated with a sort of glue, 
in case the crystals did not yet present a hardened surface. 

4. That the crystalline matter sometimes seems to flow 
down over neighboring planes. 

5. That when certain small areas on those planes have been 
left without added crystalline matter, new crystalline matter 
approaches, and, spreading over the areas, forms cavities there, 
sometimes producing several layers; sometimes, again, enclos- 
ing a part of the external fluid, which in some instances is 
nothing but air, in others water and air. 

P. 4a. The external fluid receives crystalline matter from the sub- 
stance of the harder stratum, with the result : 

1. That rocks of a different kind, emitting a different fluid, 
give rise to crystals of a different hue. 

2. That in the same place sometimes the first, sometimes 
the last, crystals are the darker: but in the same crystal the 
parts first hardened are sometimes darker than the parts last 


3. That when oysters, mussels, and other bodies have de- 
composed within the earth, the cavities are filled with crystals. 

The movement of the crystalline matter toward a point 
where the planes of the crystal already formed are fixed, does 
not arise from some common cause of motion in the surround- 
ing fluid, but varies in any given crystal ; so that in reality it 
depends upon the movement of the tenuous fluid flowing from 
the crystal already formed, and the result is: 

1. That in the same place crystalline matter is added to 
planes which face the horizon from different angles. 

2. That in the same fluid crystals of different shapes are 
produced. Whether the fluid is that by the aid of which re- 
fraction is caused, or there is still some fluid different from it, 
I leave to wiser minds to study. 

That the efficiency of a penetrating fluid is certainly great, 
is illustrated by the row of iron filings which rise about the 
poles ^ of a magnet, not only when the filings are in direct con- 
tact with the magnet but also when they are separated from 
the magnet by an intervening sheet of paper. When, for ex- 
ample, the magnet is moved in various ways below the paper, 
P. 48. while one end remains at rest, filings of this kind describe on 
the paper all the arcs which can be drawn within a hemisphere. 
Now all advance from place to place like armed soldiers ; now, 
deflected by the approach of another magnet, they form an arch 
just as if the individual parts of the filings had been glued to- 
gether and had united into a solid body.^ 

^ Poros in the original edition is an obvious error for polos, 

^ This experiment with the magnet was, no doubt, a scholastic commonplace. A curious 
analogue to Steno's illustration may be found in Robert Boyle's The Effects of Languid 
Motion Considered (edition of P. Shaw, London, 1725), Vol. I, pp. 477, 478 : 

** The load-stone is acknowledged to act by the emission of insensible particles. For tho' 
iron and steel be solid bodies, and magnetic effluvia corpuscles so very minute, as readily to 
get in at the pores even of glass itself ; yet entring the steel in swarms, they may operate so 
violently on it, as to attract above fifty times the weight of the magnet. For to these I rather 
ascribe magnetical attraction and suspension, than to the pressure of the ambient air ; because 
I have found on trial, that such a pressure is not absolutely necessary to magnetical operations. 

^' And ^rther, as to the power of magnetical effluvia upon iron, I took filings of iron fresh 
made, that the virtue might not be diminished by rust, and having laid them in a little heap 
upon paper held level, I applied to the lower side of it, just beneath the heap, the pole of a 
vigorous load-stone, whose emissions diffusing themselves thro^ the metal, manifestly alterM 


In a similar way I should suppose that by the help of a per- 
meating fluid those minute drops mutually cohere which have 
formed in a receiver from the material forced out of a retort. At 
first they cling together on the inside of the upper part of the 
receiver, but later, when a number of drops have come together 
in the upper part of the receiver, they fall down and form glob- 
ular masses which sometimes cling, with their extremities, to 
the sides of the receiver, and sometimes join other filaments. 
Filaments of this kind, which I have sometimes noticed in 
the humor of the eye, I should believe to consist of globular 
masses and to have been formed in a similar way, and so, too, 
should I believe filaments and branches to have been produced 
in the fluid by accretion from without. 

But however the case may stand concerning these things, 
in the growth of a crystal, we must take into account two 
movements: one, the movement whereby it is brought to 
pass that crystalline matter is added to certain places of the 
crystal and not to others — a movement which I fancy must be 
attributed to the attenuated permeating fluid, and is to be il- 
lustrated by the example of the magnet which I have given ; the 
other the movement whereby the new crystalline matter added 
to the crystal is spread forth over the plane — and this movement 
must be derived from the surrounding fluid, just as, when the 
iron filings have risen up above the magnet, through the move- 
P. 44. ment of the air, whatever is struck off from one filing is added 
to another. To this movement of the surrounding fluid I should 
attribute the fact that not only in a crystal, but also in many 
other angular bodies, any given opposite planes are parallel. 

From the arguments presented it might be possible to prove 
that the efficient cause of the crystal is not extreme cold ; that 
it is not ashes only, burned out by the force of fire, which turn 
into glass ; that the force of fire alone is not the producer of 
glass ; that not all crystals were produced in the beginning of 
things, but that they are even now being produced from day to 
day ; that it is not a task beyond man's power to disclose the 

their appearance, and produced many erect aggregates of filings, placed one above another, 
like little needles : and as these needles stood erected upon the fiat paper, so they would run 
to and fro, according as the load-stone, which was held underneath, moved one way or the 
other ; and as soon as that was taken away, all this little stand of pikes would fall again into a 
confused heap.^^ 


formation of glass without the agency of fire, provided one 
undertake a careful analysis of the rocks in whose cavities the 
best crystals are formed. For it is certain that, just as a crystal 
has formed from a fluid, so that same crystal can be dissolved into 
a fluid, provided one know how to imitate the real menstruum ^ of 
Nature. And it is no disproof that certain solid bodies, when 
once the dissolving fluid, or their menstruum, has been taken 
away, can be no further disintegrated by the same or a similar 
solvent; for this occurs in bodies from which the entire men- 
struum is freed by the force of fire. But the crystal, and 
all angular bodies which form in the midst of a solvent fluid, 
or in the midst of a menstruum, can never come out so pure 
but that some particles of the menstruum are left within the 
particles of the angular body. And upon this fact depends the 
main cause of variation whereby crystal differs from glass not 
P 46. only in refraction but also in other properties, since in glass no 
parts of the dissolving fluid are present, inasmuch as they have 
been driven forth by the violence of fire. For the fluid, in 
which the crystal is formed, bears the same relation to the 
crystal that ordinary water bears to salts; this could easily be 
proved by setting forth the characteristics which the formation 
of salts holds in common with the formation of crystal. 

But since I should be wandering too far from my subject if I 
should allude to all these things here, I shall mention but one 
example, which seemed exceedingly beautiful to me. In various 
places within the same stone the receding layers were filled with 
crystals, of which some were watery, others very clear, some 
white, many amethystine, mingled together without any blend- 
ing of hues ; exactly as experiments with salts made here show 
that vitriol and alum, dissolved in the same water, after a part 
of the water has been taken up, have each formed by them- 
selves without any mixing of parts. 

^ The term menstruum^ used by Steno, was commonly employed by the alchemists and 
physicists to denote a solvent fluid. Compare Littr^, Dictianaire <U la Langue Franqaise^ s,v. 
menstrue : '' Terme de chimie. Liqueur propre \ dissoudre les corps solides. L^eau rdgale 
est le menstrue de Tor (aqua regid). On dit aujourd'hui de pr^f^rence dissolvant.^ 

Excellent examples of this usage can be found in Robert Boyle^s works ; compare, e.g.^ 
Experiments and Observations upon Colours (edition of Shaw, Vol. II, p. 96) : " That gold, 
dissolvM in Aqua regia, communicates its own colour to the menstruum, is a common obser- 
vation ; but the solutions of mercury, in Aqua fortis^ are not generally observM to give any 
notable tincture to the menstruum. See also New Oxford Dictionary^ s,v. menstruum. 



The angular bodies of iron which it has hitherto been my 
fortune to see ^ reduce to three classes. Of these the first is 
plane and, being thicker in the middle, gradually grows thinner 
towards the margins, where it terminates in an edge sharp on 
every side ; the second is bounded by twelve planes, the third 
by twenty-four planes. Sometimes an angular body of the 
second class is bounded by six planes, resembling two trilateral 
P. 46. pyramids so joined along the bases that the angles of one base 
bisect the sides of the other. 

The second and third classes of angular bodies of iron agree 
with crystals in the following particulars : 

1. In the place of production ; since the place where iron is 
formed is partly solid, partly fluid, and is a cavity in the rock. 

2. As regards the place to which matter is added ; since in 
iron also it is added not to all the planes, but to some only, and 
not always to the whole of these, nor always at the same time, 
but now to one, now to another ; now towards the margins, and 
now towards the middle. 

3. As regards the place from which the iron matter comes, 
since this matter, also, seems to have flowed forth from the 
pores of a more solid body. 

4. As regards the manner in which the same matter is di- 
rected toward the solid by the help of the permeating fluid, and 
is spread forth and smoothed out upon the plane by the move- 
ment of the surrounding fluid. 

Iron and crystal differ in matter and form, because the matter 
of the crystal is translucent, while the matter of iron is opaque. 
The form of the crystal is bounded by eighteen planes, of which 
the twelve terminal are brilliant, while the six intermediate are 
striated. In the second class of iron, however, twelve planes 
may be counted, of which six are terminal and striated, the 
other six intermediate and brilliant ; and in the third class of 
P. 47. iron twenty-four planes may be counted, of which the six ter- 
minal are striated, and the intermediate eighteen brilliant Be- 
tween the terminal striated planes there sometimes lie six other 

^ Steno refers to crystals of hematite from the mines on the island of Elba. 


glistening planes resembling the truncated sides of triangular 

It seemed to me worthy of notice that by truncating a cube 
at the very extremity the entire number of planes in the third 
kind of angular bodies of iron can be shown; for it has six 
pentagonal planes which coincide with the planes of the cube, 
and which, at the four angles,^ bisect the individual sides of the 
cube s planes. All the remaining planes are found at the cube's 
angles when they are truncated in a certain way. 

In the angular bodies of iron there is also another thing 
equally surprising. In the second class of angular bodies of 
iron the terminal planes, which are striated and five-sided, are in 
process of time changed to three sides, while intermediate planes, 
which are three-sided and brilliant, pass into five-sided with two 
right angles adjacent to each other.^ Between two five-sided 
planes, however, where their right angles are adjacent, a pair of 
triangles, or two three-sided planes, are formed, likewise brilliant, 
whose bases coincide with the perpendicular side of the five- 
sided planes ; so that the second class of iron is thus changed 
into the third. 

That in this same way a body of twenty-four planes is formed 
from a body of twelve, I am convinced for the following 
P. 4S. reasons : (i) Because in the same mass of iron bodies almost 
all the thinner bodies have only twelve planes, while the thicker 
ones have twenty-four. (2) Because in certain bodies of twelve 
planes are seen the beginnings of triangular planes which are 
accessory and which, if continued, form a body of twenty-four 

In triangular planes I have sometimes noticed a smoothness 
so perfect that not the slightest uneven ness was apparent to the 
eye, — something which it has never yet been my lot to see in 
any crystal.^ In other instances I have seen smaller curved 
planes piled above larger, of which the higher were, for the 
most part, nearest the triangular apex, so that one may there- 
fore question whether the five-sided planes are not formed by 

^ The polyhedral angles. Steno is apparently referring to the relation of the rhombohe- 
dron to the cube. 

* Steno evidently thought that the various modifications of hematite resulted from an 
evolution in time of new crystal forms . 

• Quartz or rock crystal. 


the bases of triangular planes, since traces of striae appear in 
them parallel to the bases. 

That in the case of copper, angular bodies are formed in the 
same way that has been mentioned in the case of the crystal 
and iron, is inferred from those bits of copper which you ^ pre- 
serve among the curiosities of nature,^ but since the abundance 
of the matter has filled all the interstices of the bodies, it is 
difficult to ascertain the original form of the bodies. And pre- 
cisely the same is true of the angular bodies of silver sent to 
you from Germany. 


Concerning the diamond, the same thing is inferred touching 
the place and manner of production which is inferred from the 
crystal, namely: 

1 . That diamonds have been produced in a fluid enclosed in 
P. 48. the cavities of rocks, although a distinguished writer on India 

attempts to prove that diamonds are again produced in a certain 
period of years, in the earth from which they have once been 

2. That they have been produced from a fluid by the 
accretion of diamond matter. 

3. That in their production the workings of both the at- 
tenuated permeating fluid and the surrounding fluid must be 
taken into account. 

For the rest, as regards the form of diamonds, it varies 
greatly, since some are bounded by eight planes, others by 
nine,* others by eighteen, others by twenty-four planes; and 
among these most of the planes were striated, while some were 
also smooth. Although some diamonds might be angular, 
they nevertheless could have some surfaces curved rather than 

1 Ferdinand II. See p. 205. 

' Steno refers to the collection in the Pitti Palace. See p. 182. 

« Maar [op, cit,y Vol. II, p. 338) observes that Steno may have had in mind P. de RosnePs 
Le Mercure Indien (Paris, 1667), SeconcU parte^ livre premier^ Chapter II, p. 12 : " Monardes 
en son livre . . . remarque que les grands diamants prennent d^ordinaire leur naissance de la 
partie inferieure de la mine, et que les petits prennent la leur de la partie superieure.^^ 

^ Not a regular form of diamond but doubtless due to the disappearance of certain, fiaioes. 



The substance of marcasites assumes divers forms, for 
sometimes it incrusts the surface of a place, sometimes it 
is condensed into bodies of many planes, sometimes it forms 
rectangular parallelopipeds ^ which, after the usual mode of 
speech, we shall call cubes, although regularity of all the planes 
is found in but a few. 

Since I have had the opportunity to note various matters con- 
cerning the cubes of marcasites, both the cubes themselves and 
the place where they are found, I shall speak concerning those 
matters only; but their formation, nevertheless, differs from 
the formation of a crystal : 

1. In time ; since the cubes of marcasites were formed before 
^- 5o. the formation of the strata in which they are contained, whereas 

crystals hardened after the formation of the strata. 

2. In place of production ; for a crystal, at least while it was 
forming, was resting upon a solid body and so was contained 
partly in a solid place, partly in a fluid, while the cubes of the 
marcasites seem to have formed between two fluids, since there 
are no traces, even in the larger cubes, of cohesion with another 
body; although small cubes are frequently found which, while 
growing, adhere to one another in the surface of the fluid. 
Moreover we are taught by the weighty proofs of the great 
Galileo ^ that heavier substances of this kind can cling together 
on the surface of a fluid while one of their surfaces is in im- 
mediate contact with an overlying and lighter fluid of another 
kind. That one of the fluids referred to was aqueous, is shown 
by the matter of the stratum which results from the same fluid. 

3. In the manner and place of accretion ; for the matter of 
the marcasite is added to all the planes of the cubes in a manner 
different from that which we have indicated in the case of 
crystals. This fact is clearly shown by the uniformity of all the 
surfaces of the cubes which I have myself cut from rocks; all 
the planes of these had striae parallel to two sides, in such 

* For Steno^s use of the word marcasites^ see p. 225, note i . 

* The treatise of Galileo (i 564-1642) to which Steno refers is entitled Discorso al Serenis- 
^mo Don Costmo //, Gran Duca di Toscana^ Intorno aUe Cose che Stanno in Su VAcqua O 
^he in Quella Si Muovono, Cf. Le Opere dU Galileo Galilei^ Edizione NdiionaUy Firenze, 
Vol. IV, 1894, pp. 63-141. 


a way indeed that the striae in opposite planes ran along in the 
same direction, while planes adjacent to each other showed a 
different direction of the striae. From the direction of the 
striae it follows that the surrounding fluid was directed about 
every cube by a threefold movement.^ Of these movements 
P. 51. one was perpendicular to the horizon ; the remaining two, 
parallel to the horizon, were perpendicular in relation to each 
other. And it is not difficult to account for this threefold 
movement ; for while the fluid is trying to withdraw from the 
earth's centre, that direct movement is checked by the base of 
the cube, with the result that the fluid is deflected toward the 
narrower sides, inasmuch as the force of the ascending fluid is 
stronger along the wider sides and so allows no approach in 
that quarter ; and in this way two pairs of planes are marked 
out by the traces of the striae. The third pair of planes re- 
ceives its striae from that part of the fluid which passes between 
the cube and the fluid rebounding from the base of the cube. 

4. In perfection of form ; for in crystals scarcely a single one 
is found in whose form something is not lacking. Cubes of 
marcasites, however, rarely have a missing part; and the ex- 
planation is not difficult. For, since all the solid angles in the 
crystal, except the terminal angles, are obtuse, and the crystal- 
line matter is added little by little to their separate planes, any 
given plane remains imperfect, if the adjacent planes change 
their shape, in just the degree that more substance is added to 
that one alone. Since in cubes of marcasites, however, all the 
solid angles are right angles, even if new matter be added to 
one plane only, that same plane always retains the same dimen- 
sion, provided the adjacent planes do not change their form. 

Various other things may be noted in the cubes of marca- 
sites, such as cubes enclosed in cubes ; the transparent matter ^ 
P. 52. enveloped in the substance of the marcasite which encloses 
another marcasite; and other matters of this kind, which I 
keep for the Dissertation itself. 

There are also angular bodies which are broken up into 

^ Steno was probably the first to observe that the cube surfaces of pyrite are commonly 
striated parallel to three intersecting edges. 
* Not clear, because pyrite is opaque. 


layers, just as rhomboidal selenites are rhomboid bodies which 
are broken up into other rhomboidal bodies.^ And there are 
various other bodies which, although differing from the crystal 
in many respects, still all agree in this, that they were formed 
in a fluid and from a fluid. This is true also of talc, the most 
famous among chemical substances; so that they are by no 
means mistaken who believe that the solid body of talc can be 
resolved into a fluid body, seeing it is beyond cavil that talc 
was formed from a fluid. But there is no doubt that they are 
as far as possible astray from the truth who strive to wrench 
this token from it by means of fire's violence ; for talc, accus- 
tomed to kindlier treatment at Nature's hands, scorning so 
great barbarity in lovers of beauty, by way of revenge yields to 
the fire-god that function of self-destruction which it keeps 
closed within itself.^ 

If a careful investigation of angular bodies should be begun, 
touching not only their composition but also their decomposi- 
tion, we should soon gain a sure knowledge concerning the 
diversity of the motion by which the particles of both the atten- 
uated fluid and the surrounding fluid are driven on ; and this 
branch of physics is as essential to all for a true understanding 
of the workings of Nature as few they be that pursue it. 


Among solids naturally enclosed in a solid none occurs more 

P. M. commonly, or occasions greater doubt, than the shells of mol- 

lusks. Concerning these, therefore, I shall speak at somewhat 

* The reference appears to be to the cleavage of selenite. 

2 Talc was "famous" in alchemy. Compare White, The Hermetic and Alchemical Writ- 
ings of Paracelsus^ Vol. II, London, 1894, p. 383 {A Short Lexicon of Alchemy) : 

** The older alchemists have often made reference to what they term an Oil of Talc, to 
which they have attributed so many virtues that subsequently chemists have exerted all their 
power to compose it. They have calcined, purified, and sublimed the matter in question, but 
have met with no success. The reason is that the term was used allegorically, and that the 
reference was to the Oil of the Philosophers, the elixir at the white." 

See also Robert Boyle, The Usefulness of Philosophy (edition of P. Shaw, London, 1725, 
Vol. I, p. 67) : 

" But a credible person, disciple to Cornelius Drebell, couM do more than this. He assured 
me, he had a way of building furnaces, wherein he, by the single force of fire, made Venetian 
talc flow ; which I confess myself unable to do by the fire of a glass-house." " Talc, usually 
employ^ in cosmetics, is of so very difficult calcination, that eminent chymists have lookM 
on all calces of talcs as counterfeit." Ibid.^ p. 158. 


greater length, considering first shells taken from the sea, and 
then those which are dug from mountains. 

Shells of every kind which at one time had a living creature 
enclosed in them, reveal to our perceptions the following 
characteristics : 

1. The entire shells are themselves resolved into subdivi- 
sions, the subdivisions, again, are divided into filaments, and 
these filaments are reduced to two kinds differing from each 
other in color, composition, and place. 

2. In the subdivisions of the shell the upper and lower sur- 
faces are nothing but the ends of filaments, while the surface 
of the edge is the sides of those same filaments located in the 
edge of the subdivision. 

3. The inner surface of the shell itself is identical with the 
inner surface of the inmost or largest subdivision, while the 
outer surface is composed of the outer surface of the smallest 
subdivision, and of the surface of all the edges of the interme- 
diate subdivisions. 

Regarding the manner in which shells on animals are 
formed, the following points can be clearly shown: 

1. That the substance of the filaments is like the perspira- 
tion of animals, in that it is the fluid exuded through the outer 
surface of the animal. 

2. That the form of the filaments can be produced in two 
p. 64. ways : either in the animal's very pores, through which they 

are exuded, or the surface of the growing animal, having be- 
come larger than the surface of the subdivisions already hard- 
ened, separates from it, and so partly draws the viscous fluid 
contained between the two surfaces into filaments (a process 
which is common to viscous fluids), and partly adds to it by the 
exudation of fresh fluid, because no other substance can enter 
between the two surfaces. 

3. That the difference of the filaments depends upon a dif- 
ference of the pores by which the surface of the animal is per- 
forated, and upon a difference of the substance which is exuded 
through the pores ; for animals of this kind possess a twofold 
substance in their surface, of which the one is harder, the other 


• • • >f • 

softer, and both fibrous: a careful exaira'natian of these is as 
illuminating as an investigation of bones. •'/'//'. 

4. That all the subdivisions, if you exclude the otitermos.t or 
smallest, were produced between the outer shell and the tcJcJy' 
of the animal itself, and so have received their forms, not froni 
themselves, but from their place; the result of this is that in 
the case of oysters the motion of the animal, and the amount 
of substance, often give rise to some diversity of form. With 
regard to the outermost shell there can be a doubt whether the 
surrounding fluid has touched the outer surface or whether it 
has been protected by a membrane. I should, however, believe 
that the last view alone is correct : ( i ) Because the filaments 
of all the rest of the subdivisions were untouched by the sur- 
^* 65. rounding fluid at the time when they formed. (2) Because in 
prickly cockles we see that something like a membrane or skin 
covers the outside of the shells. But the inquiry concerns 
something almost outside the realm of vision, and it can be 
said that the filaments of the first subdivision had already hard- 
ened within the egg, since experimental knowledge proves that 
oysters and other testacea spring from eggs, not from decaying 

From what has been said it is easy to explain : 
I. All the diversity of hues and of spines which arouse the 
wonderment of many in the case of shells not only from our 
own land, but also from other lands ; for it has no other origin 
than the edge of the animal enclosed in the shell. This edge, 
gradually growing and expanding from something exceedingly 
small, leaves its impress upon each margin of the subdivisions, 
since these margins either form from the fluid which is exuded 
from the outer edge of the animal, or are themselves the 
x:reature's outer edges which, like the teeth of the shark, grow 

* Theories of spontaneous generation were common among the Greek philosophers ; as, 

«^. Anaximander, in Diels, Fragmente der Vorsokratiker (Zweite Auflage, Berlin, 1906), p. 17, 

^nd especially Aristotle, de Animalium Historia^ V. i, 3, and de Generatione Animalium^ I. 

33 ; III. 9, 10, and 1 1. Steno's friends were the first to combat them scientifically ; so Harvey, 

•Extrcitationes de Generatione Animalium (London, 165 1) ; Francesco Redi, Esperieme 

iniorno aUa Generazione degP Insetti (Florence, 1668) ; Swammerdam, Historia Insectorum 

Generalis (Utrecht, 1669). See also Huxley, Address before the British Association^ 1870, 

m Lay Sermons^ Addresses, and Reviews (New York, 1877), pp. 345-378. 



, »• • • • 

up anew,^pei'hajS$,*-ln the place of the earlier edge and, like 
those. ^hjfe*+^eth, are gradually thrust outward. 
.. ; '^. Y'he formation of pearls, not only of those which, clinging 

r\\V'.tVthe shells, have a form not quite round, but also of those 
which, after the pores in the surface of the animal have closed, 
acquire a round form within the pores themselves. For 
between the integuments of pearls and the subdivisions of 
shell of pearl -bearing mollusks there is merely this difference, 
that the filaments of the shells are located in the same plane, 
as it were, while the integuments of pearls have their filaments 

P. 56. distributed over a spherical surface. 

A happy instance of this was furnished by a pearl which, 
with others, I broke at your command. This pearl, although 
white without, enclosed within it a black body resembling a 
grain of pepper in both color and size ; in that black body the 
position of the filaments tending toward the centre was very 
clear, and the arrangements or spheres of the same filaments 
could be distinguished. At the same time I saw: 

1. That the excrescences on various pearls are nothing else 
than very small pearls enclosed by the same common crusts. 

2. That many pearls of yellowish hue are imbued with a 
yellow color not only in the outermost surface of the sphere, 
but in all the inner spheres ; so that it is thus no longer possi- 
ble to doubt that the yellow color must be attributed to the 
changing fluids of the animal, and that he who seeks to wash 
it clear, washes an Ethiopian ; ^ unless the color has either been 
acquired, as, for instance, the tint gained from being worn at 
the throat, or else was yellow in the outermost sphere only, as 
might be the case if, for instance, the fluids of the animal had 
changed when the inner spheres were being formed. 

In view of these facts the mistake is apparent of those who, 
without a knowledge of Nature, cleverly attempt the imitation 
of pearls ; for hardly any one could assay that feat successfully 

^ The allusion is to a feble of i£sop, who flourished about the middle of the sixth century, 
B.C. (Halm, Fiibulae Aesopicae^ Leipzig, 1875, XIII) : * A man bought an ^Ethiopian believ- 
ing his color to be what it was through the neglect of his former owner. Upon taking him 
home, the new owner applied to him soaps of aU kinds and tried to whiten him with baths of 
every description. But he was unable to change the color and was ready to fall sick from his 
toil. Characteristics remain what they were.* 


unless another Lucullus should fill his aquaria^ with pearl- 
bearing mollusks, and either seek in the animals themselves the 
methods of increasing them, or learn thence the difficulty of 
imitating the works of Nature. I would not deny that one can 
p. 57. form, artificially, globular masses consisting of various integu- 
ments, but to arrange these integuments from a succession of 
filaments and unite them according to a system, upon which the 
natural lustre of pearls depends, this I should consider indeed 
most difficult. 

The shells which lie buried in the earth are reduced to three 

The first class consists of those which are as like the shells 
just described as an egg is to an egg; since both the shells 
themselves are resolved into subdivisions, and the subdivisions 
into filaments ; and there is the same difference and position 
of filaments. An examination of the shell itself proves that 
these shells were parts of animals at one time living in a fluid, 
even if marine testacea had never been seen, as will appear 
from the example of bivalve mussels. 

At the time when bivalve mussels were formed, the sub- 
stance contained within the mussel, 

1. Had a smooth surface pierced with countless pores, and 

a twofold variation of pores. 

2. Had a substance pliable and less hard than the shell 


3. Was in communication on the one side with the sur- 

rounding matter, on the other had no communication 
with it. 

4. Gradually withdrew, from the side where communica- 

tion with the outer matter was denied it, toward the 
side where it had free communication with that same 

^ The fish-ponds of Lucullus were famous in antiquity, but our sources do not indicate that 
he stocked them with pearl-bearing oysters. Nor does Steno imply that he did so. The 
bcus classicus is Pliny's Natural History ^ IX, 170 (54): * Lucullus cut away a mountain 
near Naples at greater expense than it had cost him to build his villa. He let in the sea- 
water, and for this reason Pompeius Magnus used to call him the Roman Xerxes. After the 
death of Lucullus the fish were sold for four thousand sestertia ' (more than $150,000). With 
this may be compared Pliny, N, H.y VIII, 211 (52) and Plutarch, Lucullusy 39. 


P. 68. 5. Was able to open itself at times in proportion to the 

size of the angle which the hinges of the shells allow. 

6. Grew from a small to a large size. 

.7. Transmitted through its own substance the matter of 
which the subdivisions of shell were made. 

As regards the outer matter surrounding mussek: (i) If 
it was not wholly a fluid, at least its power of resistance was 
less than the power of expansion inherent in the substance 
within the shells. (2) It contained a fluid substance suited 
to the formation of the filaments of the subdivisions of 

All these conditions of both the inner and the outer place, 
which are proved by arguments and drawings in the Disserta- 
tion itself, fully show that there was an animal within the shells, 
and a fluid without the shells. 

The second class consists of those shells which are in other 
respects like those just described, but differ from them in color 
and weight. While some are lighter, others are heavier, 
because the heavier shells have their pores filled with an 
extraneous fluid, while the pores of the former have been 
enlarged by the ejection of the lighter parts ; I add nothing fur- 
ther in regard to them because they are nothing but the shells 
of animals, either petrified or calcined. 

The third class consists of shells which in form only are 
similar to those just described, in other respects differing from 
them completely; since neither subdivisions nor filaments, 
much less differences of filaments, are found in them. Some 
of these are filled with air; others, either black or yellow in 
P. 59. color, with stone ; others with marble ; others with crystal ; and 
still others with other matter. Thq formation of all of these 
I account for in the following way. 

When the penetrating force of fluids has dissolved the sub- 
stance of a shell, the fluids have either been drained away by 
the earth, leaving empty spaces in the shells (which I call shells 
filled with air),^ or have been changed by the addition of new 
matter and have filled the spaces in the shells with crystals or 
marble or stone, according to the diversity of the matter. And 

^ The Latin phrase is testas aereas ; porous shells are meant. 


from this source that most beautiful kind of marble which is 
called Nephiri^ has its origin, which is nothing else than a 
deposit of the sea filled with shells of every description, in 
which a stony substance takes the place of the decomposed 
substance of the shells. 

The limitation of my plan does not allow me to give an ex- 
position of all the things which I have remarked worthy of 
notice in the different kinds of shells dug from the earth; 
wherefore, passing by other matters, I shall mention here only 
the following : 

1. A pearl-bearing mussel, found in Tuscany, in which the 
pearl was clinging to the shell itself. 

2. A part of an unusually large pinna in which, after the de- 
composition of the byssus, the color of the byssus remained in 
the earthy matter which had filled the shell. 

3. There are shells of oysters of marvellous size in which 
are found several oblong cavities eaten out by worms, quite 

1 The term Nephiri is unintelligible. Neither nepheline nor nephrite, to which the word 
bears closest resemblance, fulfils the requirements of a marine deposit. Maar^s note {Om 
FasU Legemer^ p. 105) leaves the difficulty unsolved: " Vi har intetsteds kunnet finde nogen 
Oplysning om Nephiri. Professor Heiberg, til hvem vi har henvendt os, antager det for en 
Trykfejl for nephriti og formoder, at marmor nephrites er det, der nu hedder Breccia (Mar- 
markonglomerat) . Hertil maa dog bemaerkes, at nefritisk Marmor naeppe indeholder noget, 
der af Steno kunde antages for Muslingeforsteninger. Tozzetti {Reisen I, p. 127) omtaler 
nefritisk Marmor fra Bygninger i Pisa, og angiver, at det i Virkeligheden er en Slags Ser- 
pentine." See also Opera Philosophical Vol. II, p. 340. 

It is more probable that Steno wrote Septarium, which was converted to Nephiri by a 
printer^s error. The change is not difficult to account for palseographically. The final um 
following a vowel was usually indicated by '^ ; .S" was taken for N ; ph was an error for //, 
and / for a. Steno^s chirography was none too clear, as may be seen from the £cicsimile letter 
inserted by Wichfeld, Erindringer om den Danske Videnskabsmand Niels Stensen, Dansk 
historisk Tidsskrift, 3 Raekke, 4, opposite p. 108. That the error was not corrected in the 
legenda^ p. 79, of the original edition cannot be urged against this conjecture, inasmuch as 
many mistakes in the text escaped notice. 

Septaria are thus described by Chamberlain and Salisbury (^A College Text-book of Geology ^ 
New York, 1909, p. 48) : " Concretions sometimes develop cracks within themselves, and 
these may then be filled with mineral matter differing in composition or color from that of 
the original concretions (Fig. 28). Concretions the cracks of which have been filled by 
deposition fi-om solution, are called septaria. They are especially abundant in some of the 
Cretaceous shales and clays. In not a few cases the filling of the clacks appears to have 
wedged segments of the original concretion £eirther and farther apart, until the outer sur&ce 
of the septarium is made up more largely of vein-matter than of the original concretion. The 
development of concretions in rock is not commonly looked upon as metamorphism, but it is 
reaUy a metamorphic change in the broadest sense of that term." 


like those which ^ a certain kind of mussel inhabits in the 
rocks of Ancona, Naples, and Sicily. These cavities in the 
p. 60. rocks, unless they were formed by insects building a nest out of 
mud (a thing which I can scarcely believe, since the substance 
of the middle of the rock, where no cavities are found, is identi- 
cal with the substance of the rock containing the cavities, which 
are all confined to the surfaces), must have been eaten out by 
worms ; and this view is not only commended by the surface of 
the cavity, but also proved by a body composed of rather thick 
filaments which is found in many cavities, and which answers 
to the cavity itself in size and shape. Surely, the cavities were 
made neither by mussels nor around mussels, since testacea of 
this kind lack the organs for gnawing, and no cavity corre- 
sponds to the shape of the shells.^ Nor is it surprising that 
rocks exposed to the sea afford a resting place, in their cavities, 
for mussels' eggs which have been cast up by the sea, for I have 
not yet seen any of those cavities lacking an evident exit. But 
if one say that the cavities were made by a petrifying fluid 
which became hard around certain bodies, some cavities would 
have been found enveloped by that same substance on every 
side, and lacking an exit. 

4. A shell partly destroyed on the inside, where a marble in- 
crustation covered by various balanoids had supplied the loss 
of the substance eaten away ; so that it is possible to infer with 
certainty that the shell had been left upon land by the sea, next 
carried down into the sea ; again covered by a new deposit, and 
abandoned by the sea. 

5. Very small eggs and helical shells hardly visible except 
with the aid of the microscope. 

P. 61. 6. Pectens, helical shells, and bivalve mollusks not covered 
with crystal but crystalline in all their substance. 
7. Various tubes of sea worms. 

^ The Florentine edition has quos: read quas. 

The cavities, containing the thick filaments referred to by Steno, were probably made by 
die Lithophagus (Lithodomus). This Lamellibranch, of the family Mytilidae, perforates shells 
of the Lamellibranchs Melina, Ostrea, and Pectin, and produces a flask-shaped excavation. 
See von Zittd, GrutuizUge der PalaoniologUy Dritte Auflage, i AbUilung (Mlinchen, 1910), p. 
322 and fig. 632 c. 

' The borer is a mussel ; cf. the preceding note. 



What has been said concerning shells must also be said con- 
cerning other parts of animals, and animals themselves buried 
in the earth. Here belong the teeth of sharks, the teeth of the 
eagle-fish,^ the vertebrae of fishes, whole fish of every kind, the 
crania, horns, teeth, femurs, and other bones of land animals ; 
since all these are either wholly like true parts of animals, or 
differ from them only in weight and color, or have nothing in 
common with them except the outer shape alone. 

A great difficulty is caused by the countless number of teeth 
which every year are carried away from the island of Malta ; for 
hardly a single ship touches there without bringing back with it 
some proofs of that marvel. But I find no other answer to this 
difficulty than : 

1. That there are six hundred and more teeth to each shark, 
and all the while the sharks live new teeth seem to be growing. 

2. That the sea, driven by winds, is wont to thrust the bodies 
in its path toward some one place and to heap them up there. 

3. That sharks come in shoals and so the teeth of many 
sharks can be left in the same place. 

4. That in lumps of earth brought here from Malta,^ besides 
• different teeth of different sharks, various mollusks are also 

found, so that even if the number of teeth favors attributing 
their production to the earth, yet the structure of these same 
teeth, the abundance in each animal, the earth resembling the 
bottom of the sea, and the other sea objects found in the same 
place, all alike support the opposite view. 

Others find great difficulty in the size of the femurs, crania, 
and teeth, and other bones, which are dug from the earth. But 
the objection, that an extraordinary size makes it necessary 
to conclude the size to be beyond the powers of Nature, is not 
of so great moment, seeing that : 

* Steno^s phrase is piscis aquilae^ * eagle-fish.' The reference is to a family of rays known 
scientifically as Myliobatidae and popularly as " eagle-rays," " devil-fishes," and ** sea-devils/' 
The teeth are flat molars, adapted for crushing hard substances. 

'Cf. p. 211. 


1. In our own time bodies of men of exceedingly tall stature 
have been seen. 

2. It is certain that men of unnatural size existed at one 

3. The bones of other animals are often thought to be 
human bones. 

4. To ascribe to Nature the production of truly fibrous bones 
is the same as saying that Nature can produce a man's hand 
without the rest of the man. 

There are those to whom the great length of time seems 
to destroy the force of the remaining arguments, since the 
recollection of no age affirms that floods rose to the place where 
many marine objects are found to-day, if you exclude the 
universal deluge, four thousand years, more or less, before our 
time. Nor does it seem in accord with reason that a part of an 
animal's body could withstand the ravages of so many years, 
P. «8. since we see that the same bodies are often destroyed com- 
pletely in the space of a few years. But this doubt is easily 
answered, since the result depends wholly upon the diversity of 
soil; for I have seen strata of a certain kind of clay which by 
the thinness of their fluid decomposed all the bodies enclosed 
within them. I have noticed many other sandy strata which 
preserved whole all that was entrusted to them. And by this 
test it might be possible to come to a knowledge of that fluid 
which disintegrates solid bodies. But that which is certain, 
that the formation of many mollusks which we find to-day must 
be referred to times coincident with the universal deluge, is 
sufficiently shown by the following argument. 

It is certain that before the foundations of the city of Rome 
were laid, the city of Volterra was already powerful. But in 
the exceedingly large stones which are found in certain places 
(the remains of the oldest walls) at Volterra, shells of every kind 
are found,^ and not so very long ago there was hewn from the 

^ The belief in the existence of giants, based upon the finding of fossil bones of beasts, was 
widespread. See E. B. Tylor, Researches into the Early History of Mankind (London, 
1865), pp. 314-317 ; Primitive Culture, 4th edition (London, 1903), Vol. I, p. 387. 

* The courses of massive masonry within the impressive Porta all' Arco are of a yellow 
conchiliferous sandstone, called panchina. See Dennis, Cities and Cemeteries of Etruria 
(London, 1878), Vol. II, p. 144. 


midst of the forum a stone packed full of striated shells ; hence 
it is certain that the shells found to-day in the stones had 
already been formed at the time when the walls of Volterra 
were being built. 

And in order that no one may say that the shells only have 
turned into stone, or that having been enclosed within the 
stone they have suffered no destruction from the tooth of time, 
we may remark that the whole hill upon which the most an- 
cient of Etruscan cities is built, rises from the deposits of the 
sea, placed one above the other, and parallel to the horizon; 
and in these deposits many strata, not of stone, abound in 
1*. 64. mollusks that are real and have suffered no change at all ; so 
it is possible to affirm that the unchanged shells which we 
dig from them to-day were formed three thousand and more 
years ago. From the founding of Rome to our own times, we 
reckon two thousand four hundred and twenty years and more ; 
who will not grant that many ages elapsed from the time the 
first men transferred their homes to Volterra until it grew to 
the flourishing size it possessed at the time of the founding of 
Rome ? And if to these centuries we add the time which inter- 
vened between the first sedimentary deposit of the hill of 
Volterra, and the time when that same hill was left by the sea 
and strangers flocked to it, we shall easily go back to the very 
times of the universal deluge. 

The same authority of history forbids our doubting that those 
exceedingly large bones which are dug from the fields of Arezzo, 
have withstood the ravage of nineteen hundred years ; for it is 
certain : 

1. That the skulls of the pack-animals which are found there 
do not belong to animals of this climate, as neither do the huge 
femurs, and very long scapulae, which are found in the same 

2. It is certain that Hannibal crossed thither before he 
fought with the Romans at the Trasumene Lake. 

3. It is certain that there were in his army African pack- 
, animals and turret-bearing elephants of huge size. 

4. It is certain that while he was coming down from the 
P. 65. mountains of Fiesole a large part of the animals kept for carry- 


ing packs perished in the marshy places from the excessive 

5. It is certain that the place whence are dug the bones 
under discussion, was heaped up from various strata which are 
full of stones rolled down by the force of torrents from the 
surrounding mountains; so that the manifest agreement in all 
details can no longer remain hidden from one who compares the 
character of the place and of the bones with the historical 


What has been said regarding animals and their parts holds 
equally true of plants and the parts of plants, whether they are 
dug from earthy strata or lie hidden within rocky substance; 
for they either completely resemble actual plants and parts of 
plants (this kind is found rather rarely), or they differ from ac- 
tual plants only in color and in weight (this kind occurs more 
frequently, sometimes burnt in charcoal, sometimes impregnated 
in a petrifying fluid), or they correspond to actual plants in 

1 Cuvier {Recherches sur Us Ossemens FossiUsy 4th edition, Vol. II, Paris, 1834, p. 17) 
states that the skeleton of an elephant was found at Arezzo in 1663 : 

<< C'est dans le val de Chiana, au territoire d' Arezzo, que le grand-due Ferdinand II, ce 
g^n^reux protecteur des sciences, fit d^terrer un squelette entier en 1663, dont proviennent 
encore, selon Targioni (Tozzeti), une partie des os conserves k Florence, et dont paraissent 
avoir parl^ Stenon et Boccone." 

Steno^s explanation is a naive attempt to account for the presence, in very great numbers, 
of the fossil remains of elephants belonging to the Pleistocene period. Says Cuvier {^op, cii.^ 
p. 16) : "Quand on passe de I'Etat de TEglise en Toscane, en suivant le Tibre, le Clanis ou 
Chiana et TArno, les os d^^l^phans deviennent de plus en plus nombreux. Le val de Chiana, 
ie val d^Amo et les valines particuli^res qui y aboutissent, en contiennent d^^tonnantes 

Further references are: Forsyth Major, Cottsiderazioni sulla Fauna dei Mammiferi 
piiocenici e post-piiocenici della Toscana in Atti di Societd Toscana di Scienze Naturale in 
Pisa, Vol. I (1875), PP- 7"-40» 223-245; III (1877), pp. 207-227; Mammalian Fauna of the 
Val d'^Arno in The Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society of London, Vol. XJLl (1885), 
pp. 1-8 ; Dep^ret, Evolution of Tertiary Mammals, and the Importance of Their Migrations 
in The American Naturalist, Vol. XLII (1908), pp. 109-114, 166-170, 303-307. 

It may be interesting to note, apropos of Steno^s " historical record," that both Livy and 
Polybius agree that Hannibal had only one elephant by the time he reached Arezzo. According 
to Eutropius (III. 8) and Polybius (III. 42), Hannibal entered Italy with thirty-seven 
elephants. Polybius states (III. 74) that all except one perished from the extreme cold im- 
mediately after the battle of the Trebia (218 B.C.), and Livy (XXI. 56) remarks that almost 
all {prope omnis) were overcome. In the attempt to cross the Apennines, a detail of the 
campaign which is not mentioned by Polybius and is a source of confusion in Livy, seven of 
these succumbed (Livy, XXI. 58). And when Hannibal reached Arezzo in the early spring of 
217 B.C. (XXII. 2), Livy represents him as riding the sole survivor. 


form only ; of this last kind there is a great abundance in vari- 
ous places. 

Regarding the first two classes there cannot be the least 
doubt that they were at one time actual plants, since the struc- 
ture of their very bodies compels this view, and the character of 
the place whence they are dug does not oppose it They who 
hold, in opposition, that the earth which had been carried over 
into houses in process of time changed into wood, cannot affirm 
this except of the surface of the earth enclosing the wood, 
where the earth, having become dry in time, and turned to 
dust, has brought to light the wood enclosed within it. Neither 
do the metallic filaments found in the pores of the same wood 
militate against our view, since I myself have drawn from the 
earth a trunk attesting its plant nature by the knots of its 
branches and by its bark, whose fissures had been filled with 
B. «e. mineral matter. Hence, furthermore, it might throw no little 
light upon the lore of minerals if an investigation were made 
of the wood, and the place of the wood to determine what they 
could have contributed to the formation of minerals. Under 
the name of bitumen come many things which the channels of 
the fibres and the ashes of the burnt portions prove to be noth- 
ing but charcoal. 

A greater difficulty is occasioned by the third class of plants, 
or the forms of plants marked upon stones, since we find forms 
of this kind in hoar-frost, in the mercury tree,^ in various vola- 
tile salts, in a white substance^ soluble in water, which not only 
forms in glass vessels on their inner surfaces but sometimes 
rises from the middle of the vessel into the air. But to one 
who duly weighs all considerations nothing will be found to be 
inconsistent with the views expressed ; for the forms of plants 
inscribed on stones are reducible to two classes. Some of 
these forms are imprinted only on the surface of the clefts, 
which I would readily acknowledge to have been produced with- 
out an actual plant, although not without a fluid ; others appear 
not only on the surface of the clefts but spread their branches 
everywhither throughout the substance of the stone. Hence it 
follows that at the time when a plant of the second type was 

^ The metallic crystals produced by mercury in a solution containing silver. 
^ Ammonium! chloride, sal ammoniac. 


being produced, whether this took place after the manner of 
other plants, or in the fashion of the mercury tree, the substance 
of the stone had not yet laid aside the character of a fluid ; this 
fact, again, is further assured not only by the softer consistency 
of the stone, but also by the angular bodies common in the den- 
P. 67. drite of Elba, such as form only in a free fluid. But what need 
is there of other proofs, when experience itself speaks ? I have 
seen various moist places, not only those exposed to the sun, 
but also underground, where, on account of water flowing by, a 
rock growing to moss and other plants was being covered with 
new moss of a different kind. 

Hitherto I have reviewed the principal bodies whose place 
of finding has for many afforded no clue to the place of their 
production ; and at the same time I have hinted how, from that 
which is perceived, a definite conclusion is formed in regard to 
that which cannot be perceived. 


In what way the present condition of any thing discloses the 
past condition of the same thing, is above all other places 
clearly manifest in Tuscany ; inequalities of surface observed in 
its appearance to-day contain within themselves plain tokens of 
different changes, and these I shall review in inverse order, 
proceeding from the last to the first. 

1. At one time the inclined plane A [PI. XI, fig. 20] was 
in the same plane with the higher, horizontal plane B, and the 
end of the same plane A thus raised, as also the end of the 
higher, horizontal plane C, were continuous, whether the lower, 
horizontal plane D was in the same plane with the higher hori- 
zontal planes B, C, or another solid body existed there, support- 
ing the exposed sides of the higher planes. Or, what is the 
same thing, in the place where to-day rivers, swamps, sunken 
plains, steeps, and planes inclined between sand hills are seen, 

P. 68. all was once level, and at that time all the waters, both of rains 
and of springs, were flooding that plain, or had opened for 
themselves underground channels beneath it ; at any rate, there 
were cavities under the upper strata. 

2. At the time when the plane B, A, C [PK XI, fig. 21] 


was being formed, and other planes under it, the entire plane 
By Ay C, was covered with water; or, what is the same thing, 
the sea was at one time raised above sand hills, however high. 

3. Before the plane B, A, C [PI. XI, fig. 22] was formed, 
the planes F, G, I [PL XI, fig. 23] had the same position 
which they now hold; or, what is the same thing, before the 
strata of the sand hills were ^ formed, deep valleys existed in the 
same places. 

4. At one time the inclined plane / [PI. XI, fig. 23] ap- 
peared in the same plane with the horizontal planes F and G, 
and either the exposed sides of the planes / and G were contin- 
uous, or another solid existed there, supporting the exposed 
sides when the planes were being formed ; or, what is the same 
thing, where valleys are seen to-day between the plane sum- 
mits of the highest mountains, there was at one time a single 
continuous plane under which huge caverns had been formed 
before the downfall of the upper strata. 

5. When the plane F, G [PI. XI, figures 24 and 25] was 
being formed, a watery fluid lay upon it ; or, what is the same 
thing, the plane summits of the highest mountains were at one 
time covered with water. 

Six distinct aspects of Tuscany ^ we therefore recognize, 
two when it was fluid, two when level and dry, two when it was 
broken; and as I prove this fact concerning Tuscany by infer- 
ence from many places examined by me, so do I affirm it with 
reference to the entire earth, from the descriptions of different 
places contributed by different writers. But in order that no 
one may be alarmed by the novelty of my view, in a few words 
I shall set forth the agreement of Nature with Scripture by 
reviewing the chief difficulties which can be urged regarding 
the different aspects of the earth. 

In regard to the first aspect of the earth Scripture and 
Nature agree in this, that all things were covered with water^; 
how and when this aspect began, and how long it lasted, 
Nature says not. Scripture relates. That there was a watery 

* The alluvial deposits of the valley. 

^ This summary takes up the figures in inverse order, figures 25, 24, etc. 

• See Genesis^ i. 1-7. 


fluid, however, at a time when animals and plants were not 
yet to be found, and that the fluid covered all things, is proved 
by the strata of the higher mountains, free from all heteroge- 
neous material. And the form of these strata bears witness 
to the presence of a fluid, while the substance bears witness 
to the absence of heterogeneous bodies. But the similarity 
of matter and form in the strata of mountains which are dif- 
ferent and distant from each other, proves that the fluid was 
universal. But if one say that the solids of a different kind 
contained in those strata were destroyed in course of time, he 
will by no means be able to deny that in that case a marked 
difference must have been noticed between the matter of the 
stratum and the matter which percolated through the pores of 
the stratum, filling up the spaces of the bodies which had been 
destroyed. If, however, other strata which are filled with dif- 
P. 70. ferent bodies are, in certain places, found above the strata of 
the first fluid, from this fact nothing would follow excepting 
that above the strata of the first fluid new strata were deposited 
by another fluid, whose matter could likewise have refilled the 
wastes of the strata left by the first fluid. Thus we must 
always come back to the fact that at the time when those strata 
of matter unmixed, and evident in all mountains, were being 
formed, the rest of the strata did not yet exist, but that all 
things were covered by a fluid free from plants and animals and 
other solids. Now since no one can deny that these strata are 
of a kind which could have been produced directly by the First 
Cause, we recognize in them the evident agreement of Scripture 
with Nature. 

Concerning the time and manner of the second aspect of the 
earth, which was a plane and dry. Nature is likewise silent. 
Scripture speaks. As for the rest Nature, asserting that such 
an aspect did at one time exist, is confirmed by Scripture, which 
teaches us that the waters welling from a single source over- 
flowed the whole earth.^ 

When the third aspect of the earth, which is determined to 
have been rough, began, neither Scripture nor Nature makes 
plain. Nature proves that the unevenness was great, while 
Scripture makes mention of mountains ^ at the time, of the 

^ See GetusiSy 2. 10-14. * See Qenesis, 7. 19-20. . - 


flood. But when those mountains, of which Scripture in this 
connection makes mention, were formed, whether they were 
identical with mountains of the present day, whether at the 
beginning of the deluge there was the same depth of valleys 
P. 71. as there is to-day, or whether new breaks in the strata opened 
new chasms to lower the surface of the rising waters, neither 
Scripture nor Nature declares. 

The fourth aspect, when all things were sea, seems to cause 
more difficulty, although in truth nothing difficult is here pre- 
sented. The formation of hills from the deposit of the sea bears 
witness to the fact that the sea was higher than it is now, that 
too not only in Tuscany but in very many places distant enough 
from the sea, from which the waters flow toward the Mediter- 
ranean ; nay, even in those places from which the waters flow 
down into the ocean. Nature does not oppose Scripture in 
determining how great that height of the sea was, seeing 
that : 

1. Definite traces of the sea remain in places raised several 
hundreds of feet above the level of the sea. 

2. It cannot be denied that as all the solids of the earth 
were once, in the beginning of things, covered by a watery 
fluid, so they could have been covered by a watery fluid a sec- 
ond time, since the changing of the things of Nature is indeed 
constant, but in Nature there is no reduction of anything to 
nothing. But who has searched into the formation of the 
innermost parts of the earth, so that he dare deny that huge 
caverns may exist there, filled sometimes with a watery fluid, 
sometimes with a fluid akin to air ? 

3. It is wholly uncertain what the depth of valleys at the 
beginning of the deluge was ; reason, however, may urge that 
in the first ages of the world smaller cavities had been eaten 
out by water and fire, and that in consequence not so deep 
breaks of strata followed from this cause; while the highest 

P. 72. mountains of which Scripture speaks were the highest of those 
mountains which were in existence at that time, not of those 
which we see to-day. 

4. If the movement of a living being can bring it to pass 
that places which have been overwhelmed with waters are 
arbitrarily made dry, and are again overwhelmed with waters. 


why should we not voluntarily grant the same freedom and the 
same powers to the First Cause of all things ? 

In regard to the time of the universal deluge, secular history 
is not at variance with sacred history, which relates all things 
in detail. The ancient cities of Tuscany, of which some were 
built on hills formed by the sea, put back their birthdays be- 
yond three thousand years; in Lydia, moreover, we come 
nearer to four thousand years: so that it is possible thence to 
infer that the time at which the earth was left by the sea agrees 
with the time of which Scripture speaks.^ 

As regards the manner of the rising waters, we could bring 
forward various agreements with the laws of Nature. But if 
some one say that in the earth the centre of gravity does not 
always coincide with the centre of the figure, but recedes now 
on one side, and now on the other, in proportion as subterra- 
nean cavities have formed in different places, it is possible to 
assign a simple reason why the fluid, which in the beginning 
covered all things, left certain places dry, and returned again 
to occupy them. 

The universal deluge may be explained with the same ease 
if a sphere of water, or at least huge reservoirs, be conceived 
around a fire in the middle of the earth ; thence, without the 
movement of the centre, the pouring forth of the pent-up water 
P. 78. could be derived. But the following method also seems to me 
to be very simple, whereby both a lesser depth of the valleys 
and a sufficient amount of water are obtained without taking 
into account the centre, or figure, or gravity. For if we shall 
have conceded (i) That by the slipping of fragments of certain 
strata, the passages were stopped through which the sea pene- 
trating into hollow places of the earth sends forth the water 
to bubbling springs ; (2) That the water undoubtedly enclosed 
in the bowels of the earth, was, by the force of the known sub- 
terranean fire in part driven toward springs, and in part forced 
up into the air through the pores of the ground which had not 

^ Steno accepted the chronology of Archbishop Usher, which assfgned the creation of the 
world to the year 4004 B.C. In this connection, see also J. Woodward, An Essay Toward a 
Natural History of the Earth and Terrestrial Bodies y Especially Miner alsy etc., London, 
first edition, 1695 ; J. Arbuthnot, An Examination of Dr. Woodward'' s Account of the 
Deluge. . . . With a Comparison between Stend^s Philosophy and the Doctor^s in the Case 
of Marine Bodies Dugout of the Earthy London, 1697. 


yet been covered with water ; that, moreover, the water which 
not only is always present in the air but also was mixed with it 
in the manner previously described, fell in the form of rain ; 
(3) That the bottom of the sea was raised through the enlarg- 
ing of subterranean caverns; (4) That the cavities remaining 
on the surface of the earth were filled with earthy matter 
washed from the higher places by the constant falling of rains ; 
(5) That the very surface of the earth was less uneven, because 
nearer to its beginnings — if we shall have granted all this, we 
shall have admitted nothing opposed to Scripture, or reason, or 
daily experience. 

What happened on the surface of the earth while it was cov- 
ered with water, neither Scripture nor Nature makes clear; 
this only can we assert from Nature, that deep valleys were 
formed at that time. This is (i) because the cavities, made 
larger by the force of subterranean fires, furnished room for 
greater downfalls; (2) because a return passage had to be 
opened for the waters into the deeper parts of the earth; 
P. 74. (3) because to-day, in places far from the sea are seen deep 
valleys filled with many marine deposits. 

As for the fifth aspect, which revealed huge plains after the 
earth had again become dry. Nature proves that those plains 
existed, and Scripture does not gainsay it. For the rest, 
whether the entire sea presently receded, or whether, indeed, 
in the course of ages new chasms opening afforded opportunity 
for disclosing new regions, it is possible to determine nothing 
with certainty, since Scripture is silent, and the history of 
nations regarding the first ages after the deluge is doubtful 
in the view of the nations themselves, and thought to be 
full of myths. This, indeed, is certain, that a great amount 
of earth was carried down every year into the sea (as is easily 
clear to one who considers the size of rivers, and their long 
courses through inland regions, and the countless number 
of mountain streams, in short, all the sloping places of the 
earth), and that the earth thus carried down by rivers, and 
added day by day to the shore, left new lands suited for 
new habitations. 

This is in fact confirmed by the belief of the ancients, in 
accordance with which they called whole regions the gifts 


of rivers ^ of like name, as also by the traditions of the Greeks,^ 
since they relate that men, descending little by little from 
the mountains, inhabited places bordering on the sea that were 
sterile by reason of excessive moisture, but in course of time 
became fertile. 

The sixth aspect of the earth is evident to the senses ; herein 
the plains left by the waters, especially by reason of erosion, and 
P. 76. at times through the burning of fires, passed over into various 
channels, valleys, and steep places. And it is not to be 
wondered at that in the historians there is no account as to 
when any given change took place. For the history of the 
first ages after the deluge is confused and doubtful in secular 

1 In Homer the river Nile {Odyssey IV. 477) is 6 Aiyvirro? and the country {Odyssey XVII. 
448) is 1) AiyuTTTo?. Herodotus (II. 5) calls Aegypt *the gift' of the Nile, and Plato 
{Timaeus, 22 D) represents an Egyptian priest as saying to Solon: 'And from this calamity 
(/>. periodic destruction) the Nile, which is our never-failing savior, saves and frees us/ 
Cf. Strabo, Geography^ C. 36 (I. 2, 29). 

* The tradition is explained at length in dialogue in Plato's Laws, 677-682 B : 

' Athenian. Do the ancient traditions seem to you to contain any truth ? 

Kleinias. What traditions ? 

Ath. The traditions that many destructions of mankind were occasioned by deluges and 
diseases and many other things, as a result of which only a small remnant of the human race 
was left. 

A7. Every one believes all that. 

Ath. Come then. Let us think that one of many such destructions was once occasioned 
by a deluge. 

KL What are we to think about it ? 

Ath, That those who then escaped the destruction would only be some mountain shep- 
herds, small sparks of the human race preserved on the mountain tops. 

KL Clearly. . . . 

Ath. After this they came together in greater numbers and increased the size of their 
cities, and turned to husbandry, first at the foot of the mountains. . . . 

Ath. Homer also disclosed the form following the second, saying that the third arose 
thus. For he says, He founded Dardania, since holy Ilios had not yet been built on the 
plain, the city of mortal men, but they still dwelt at the foot of Ida with its many springs 
{Iliad, XX. 216-218). . . . 

Ath. Now Ilios, we say, was built when men had come down from the heights into 
a large, fair plain, on a low hill watered by many rivers which descended from Ida.' 

We may compare also Plato's Timaeus, 22 C ; Statesman, 270 ; Critias, 109 D. 

A summary .of the passage in the Laws is given by Strabo in his Geography, C, 592, 593 
(XIII. I, 25) : 

' Plato conjectures that three forms of political commonwealth were established after the del- 
uges. The first was upon the mountain tops, a simple and savage affair, composed of folk who 
feared the waters that still flooded the plains. The second was on the foothills, composed of 
folk who regained their courage little by little, since the plains were beginning to dry. The 
third was in the plains. One might mention a fourth and a fifth, and possibly more, but the 
last was on the sea-coast and in the islands, after all fear of a deluge had vanished.' 


writers; as the ages passed, moreover, they felt constrained to 
celebrate the deeds of distinguished men, not the wonders of 
Nature. Nevertheless the records, which ancient writers men- 
tion, of those who wrote the history of the changes which 
occurred in various places, we do not possess. But since the 
authors whose writings have been preserved report as marvels 
almost every year, earthquakes, fires bursting forth from the 
earth, overflowings of rivers and seas, it is easily apparent that 
in four thousand years ^ many and various changes have taken 

Far astray, therefore, do they wander, who criticize the many 
errors in the writings of the ancients, because they find there 
various things inconsistent with the geography of to-day. I 
should be unwilling to put credence in the mythical accounts of 
the ancients ; but there are in them also many things to which 
I would not gainsay belief. For in those accounts I find many 
things of which the falsity rather than the truth seems doubtful to 
me. Such are the separation of the Mediterranean Sea^ from the 
western ocean; the passage from the Mediterranean into the 
Red Sea; and the submersion of the island Atlantis.' The 
description of various places in the journeys of Bacchus, Trip- 
tolemus, Ulysses, iEneas, and of others, may be true, although 
P. 76. it does not correspond with present day facts. Of the many 
changes which have taken place over the whole extent of 
Tuscany embraced between the Arno and the Tiber, I shall 
adduce evident proofs in the Dissertation itself ; and although 
the time, in which the individual changes occurred, cannot be 
determined, I shall nevertheless adduce those arguments from 
the history of Italy, in order that no doubt may be left in the 
mind of anyone. 

And this is the succinct, not to say disordered, account of the 

^ In order to account for the evolution of earth features within the time limit imposed by 
his belief in U^her^s chronology of creation, Steno is compelled to adopt a theory of violent 
catastrophes in nature. 

* See p. 210, note i. 

' Plato, Tint€uusy 25, c, d : * But later, when violent earthquakes and deluges occurred, in 
a single day and night of misfortune, all your military power in a body sank into the earth, and 
in a like manner the island Atlantis sank and disappeared in the sea. For this reason the sea 
in that region is even now impassable and impenetrable because a shoal of mud (reading 
xdpra jSpax^os instead of PaSlog) forms a barrier which was caused by the sinking bland/ 
Compare also Crstias, 108 £, ff. 


principal things which I had decided to set forth in the Disser- 
tation, not only with greater clearness but also with greater ful- 
ness, adding a description of the places where I have observed 
each thing. 

p. 77. Let Vincentius Viviani examine this work, and report 
whether there is anything in it which is contrary to the Catho- 
lic Faith or to good morals. 

ViNC. DE Bardis, Vicar General of Florence. 

Most Illustrious and Most Reverend Sir : 

Having seen the new and admirable Prodromus of the most 
distinguished Steno, the Dissertation Concerning a Solid 
Naturally Contained Within a Solidy or rather, if you prefer, 
of the whole of Physics, and having recognized in it a perfectly 
sincere manifestation of the Catholic faith and of good morals, 
as in the very candid author, I have indeed thought the same 
worthy of being entrusted to type on this, the thirtieth day of 
August, 1668. 

Vincentius Viviani. 

Let it be printed servatis servandis. 

ViNC. DE Bardis, Vicar General of Florence. 

The seventh day of December, 1668. 

Let Franciscus Redi, Consultor of the Holy Office at Flor- 
ence, examine it and report. 

Fr. Jacobus Tosini, Vicar General of the Holy Office at Florence. 

Most Reverend Father: 

The Prodromus of the very learned and expert Nicolaus 

Steno's Dissertation Concerning a Solid Naturally Contained 

p. 78. Within a Solid, adorned in the highest degree with sound and 

noble learning, I have seen, and I have judged it worthy of 


Franciscus Redi. 

With the foregoing attestation let it be printed at Florence 
this day, the thirteenth of December, 1668. 

Fr. Joseph Tamagninus, Chancellor of the Holy Office at Florence. 

Gig. Federighi, Senator and Auditor of the Holy Apostolic Cham- 
ber ^ and through him, Benedetto Gori. 



Inasmuch as the brevity of my hurried writing has left not a few 
things insufficiently explained, especially where the treatment con- 
cerns angular bodies and the strata of the earth, in order to afford 
some sort of remedy for that defect, I have decided to add here the 
following figures, chosen from very many others. 

[Plate IX] 

The first thirteen figures, intended to illustrate the angular bodies 
of crystal, fall into two classes. 

The first class contains seven varieties of a plane in which the 
axis of the crystal lies. 

In figures i, 2, and 3, the axes of the parts, of which the body of 
the crystal is composed, form a straight line ; but there is an inter- 
mediate prism, which is lacking in Figure i, appears rather short in 
2, longer in 3. 

In Figure 4, the axes of the parts which make up the body of 
the crystal do not form a straight line. 

Figures 5 and 6 belong to the class of those which I could pre- 
sent in countless numbers to prove that in the plane of the axis 
both the number and the length of the sides are changed in various 
ways without changing the angles ; that various cavities are left in 
the very middle of the crystal, and that various layers are formed. 
Figure 7 in the plane of its axis shows how both the number and the 
length of the sides are sometimes increased in various ways, some- 
times diminished, from the new crystalline matter placed above the 
planes of the pyramids. 

The second class contains six varieties of base of planes.^ 
In Figures 8, 9, 10, and 11, there are only six sides ; with this dif- 
ference, nevertheless, that in Figure 8 all the sides are equal, while 

1 The cross section parallel to the basal pinacoid. 


Plate IX. 








Stexo's Figures 1-13, ix Exact Size. 


in Figures 9 and 1 1 not all, but only the opposite sides, are equal ; 
in Figure 10, any given opposite sides are unequal. 

In Figure 1 2 the plane of the base, which ought to be a hexagon, 
is bounded by twelve sides. 

Figure 13 shows how sometimes the length and number of the 
sides are changed in various ways without changing the angles, on 
the plane of the base, while new crystalline matter is being placed 
upon the planes of the pyramids. 


[Plate X] 

The six following figures explain two different kinds of angular 
bodies of iron. 

Figures 14, 15, 16 serve to illustrate those angular bodies of iron 
which are enclosed by twelve planes ; Figure 14, in fact, shows all the 
twelve planes spread out into a single plane, six of these being tri- 
angular and brilliant, the remaining six pentagonal and striated. 
Figure 15 is the plane of the base of the same body. Figure 16 is 
the plane of the axis of the same body. 

Figures 17, 18, and 19 serve to illustrate those angular bodies 
of iron which are bounded by thirty planes. 

Figure 17 shows all the thirty planes spread out into a single 
plane ; of these six planes are pentagonal and brilliant, twelve tri- 
angular and also brilliant, six triangular and striated, six oblong 
quadrilaterals and brilliant. 

Figure 18 is the plane of the base of the same body. 

Figure 19 is the plane of the axis of the same body. 

Plate X. 








Steno's Figures 14-19, in Exact Size except 17. 


[Plate XI] 

The last six figures, while they show in what way we infer the six 
distinct aspects of Tuscany from its present appearance, at the same 
time serve for the readier comprehension of what we have said 
about the earth's strata. The dotted lines represent the sandy strata 
of the earth, so called from the predominant element, although vari- 
ous strata of clay and rock are mixed with them ; the rest of the 
lines represent strata of rock, likewise named from the predominant 
element, although other strata of a softer substance are sometimes 
found among them. In the Dissertation itself I have explained the 
letters of the figures in the order in which the figures follow one 
another : here I shall briefly review the order of change. 

Figure 25 shows the vertical section of Tuscany at the time when 
the rocky strata were still whole and parallel to the horizon. 

Figure 24 shows the huge cavities eaten out by the force of fires 
or waters while the upper strata remained unbroken. 

Figure 23 shows the mountains and valleys caused- by the break- 
ing of the upper strata. 

Figure 22 shows new strata, made by the sea, in the valleys. 

Figure 21 shows a portion of the lower strata in the new beds 
destroyed, while the upper strata remain unbroken. 

Figure 20 shows the hills and valleys produced there by the 
breaking of the upper sandy strata. 

Plate XI. 


s. B 





y\\ 1 





o i— 

n v^ 


V B 

■ • • • •-•••-•-•-• 


• •-•»••••- 

c / 


1 i/v 

jW I 



^v^ ^^C • • • 

• • • • • •■•-• • 

• • • •^r _^r 

• • ^^ ^^ 








Stexo's Figures 20-25, in Exact Size. 


Abel, 211, n. I; 224, n. I. 

Academics, 213, n. 2; 214. 

Accademia del Cimento, founding of, 180 ; Steno 

member of, 209. 
Acosta, de, 236, n. 2. 
Accretions, 225 ; inorganic, 232, n. 2 ; to mar- 

casites, 247. 
iEneas, 269. 
^chylus, 205, n. 3. 
i€sop, 252, n. I. 
Aetites, 224, n. I. 
Africa, land bridge from, 174. 
Agate, 224, 225. 
Agent, as form or idea, 216 ; determining motion, 

216; universal, 217. 
Agricola, George, on glossopetrae, 211, n. i ; on 

mountain formation, 232, n. 2; on gnomes, 

232, n. 2; on divining rod, 236, n. i. 
Air, in breathing, 221 ; Hippocrates* theory of, 

223 ; explosion of, 231 ; in crystals, 238. 
Albertus Magnus, on glossopetrse, 211, n. i. 
Alchemy, 249, n. 2. 
Alimentary canal, 221. 
All Soub' Day, 180, n. 3. 
Alps, 234, n. 2. 
Alum, 243; feathery, 225. 
Amethysts, 225. 
Amianthus, 224. 

Ammon, marine deposits at temple of, 210, n. i. 
Ammonium chloride, 261, n. 2. 
Amniotic fluid, 220. 

Amsterdam, Steno's arrival in, 176, 183, 208, n. i. 
Anaximander, 251, n. i. 
Ancients, 267, 269 ; on fossils, 210 f. 
Ancona, 256. 

Angelis, de, on Steno's degree, 176, n. i. 
Angles, law of constancy of interfacial, 171; of 

crystals, 237, 248 ; of hematite, 245 ; of mar- 

casites, 248. 
Angular bodies, 220; with meaning of crystals, 

225, 226, 244 ; of iron, 244 f. ; place and pro- 
duction of, 244 ; planes of hematite, 245 ; 

striation of, 244 f. 
Animals, 216 ; fluids in, 221 ; formation of, 221 ; 

parts of, 257 ; place of growth in, 220 ; shells 

of, 218. 
Antimony, 218. 
Apennines, 260, n. i. 

Aqua fortis, 243, n. i ; regia, 243, n. I. 

Aquaria, 253. 

Arabian Gulf, 210, n. i. 

Arbuthnot, 266, n. i. 

Arezzo, fossils at, 259. 

Aristotle, 251, n. i. 

Armenia, salt lakes in, 210, n. I. 

Arno, extinct animals in valley of, 174, 260, n. i; 

Amolfini, Lavinia Felice Cenanni, 180. 
Artaxerxes, 210, n. i. 
Arteries, 222. 
Ashes, in strata, 229, 232. 
Atlantic, level of, 210, n. i. 
Atlantis, 269. 
Atoms, 216. 
Axes, of crystals, 237, 272 f. 

Bacchus, 269. 

Bacon, Francis, 181, n. 3 ; 196, 205, n. 3. 

Balanoids, 256. 

Banks, Sir Joseph, 197. 

Bardis, de, 271. 

Barlaeus, Caspar, 232, n. i. 

Bartholin, Thomas, 175, 176 f., 207, n. 3 ; 21 1, n. i* 

Baudry, Paul, 205, n. 3. 

Beaumont, Elie de, 201. 

Bezoar, 224. 

Bitumen, 229, 232, 261. 

Bladder, 221. 

Blaes, Gerard, 176, 177, 178. 

Blondel, 181. 

Blood, circulation of, 222. 

Boccone, 260, n. i. 

Bodies, produced naturally, 215 ; not produced 

by earth and rocks, 218. 
Bohemia, 232, n. 2. 
Bologna, 186. 
Bones, broken, 225 ; fibrous, 258 ; fossil taken 

for human, 258 ; enclosed in solids, 218. 
Boni, 232, n. 2. 
Borch, Ole, see Borrichius. 
Borrichius, 175, 178. 
Bossuet, 180. 
Boyle, Robert, 198, 199, 199, n. i ; 2CX), n. i ; 

232, n. I ; 236, n. i ; 241, n. 2; 243, n. i ; 

249, n. 2. 
Brazil, 232. 




Breccia, 255, n. i. 
Bruno, Giordano, 169. 
Burial, Chinese, 236. 
Byssus, 255. 
Byzantium, 210, n. i. 

Calculi, 221. 

Callus, 225. 

Canals, 222. 

Candolle, 181, n. 3. 

Capellini, Giovanni, 186. 

Capillaries, 221, 222, 223. 

Casserius, 176. 

Cause, First, 264, 266. 

Caverns, 234, 265, 267. 

Caves, 234. 

Cavities, in body, 222; in crystals, 238; in earth, 
230; in rocks, 238, 256; in shells, 255. 

Chalcedony, 224. 

Chamberlain, 255, n. i. 

Charcoal, 229, 260. 

Chemists, 216. 

Chereau, 175, n. 2; 176, n. i. 

Chiana, 260, n. i. 

Chinese, 236. 

Chorion, 220. 

Christian V, 183. 

Cicero, 176, n. 4; 205, n. 3. 

Qnnabar, 218. 

Clanis, 260, n. i. 

Clays, 255, n. i. 

Qeavage, of selenites, 249, n. i. 

Cockles, 210, n. I ; 251. 

Concretions, 226, n. i; 255, n. i. 

Consani, Vincenzo, 185. 

Copenhagen, 175, 176, 185. 

Copper, 218, 225, 246. 

Cosimo III, 182, 183, 185. 

Cracks, in concretions, 255, n. i; in strata, 231, 

Crania, 257. 

Creation, strata at, 228; chronology of, 269. 

Crete, 210, n. i. 

Cribration, 222, 223, 224. 

Crusts, 228, 229. 

Crystals, angles of, 237 ; cause of, 242 ; columnar 
form of, 171; faces of, 171; figures of, 272 ft'.; 
formation of, 237 ff.; growth of, 171, 238 f.; 
hardening of, 218, 237; hues of, 240, 243; en- 
closed in solid, 218; law of interfacial angles 
of, 171; lustre of, 240; of mountains, 225; 
movement in, 242; of niter, 171, 219; nucleus 
of, 171, 172; orientation of molecules in, 171; 
parts of, 237; phantom, 171; planes of, 237, 
239; prisms of, 237; pyramids of, 237; means 

quartz, 218, n. i; 220, n. i; 237, n. i; in 

shells, 254; surface of, 239. 
Crystalline matter, 238, 239, 240, 241. 
Crystallography, 171. 

Cubes, of marcasites, 247; truncated, 245. 
Cuvier, 260, n. i. 
Cybotus, 232, n. 2. 
Cynics, 213, n. 2; 214. 

Damigeron, 224, n. i. 

Dardania, 268, n. 2. 

Dati, Carlo, 180. 

Davis, Robert, 198. 

Deluge, Universal, 169, 174, 258, 264, 265, 266, 

Democritus, 205. 
Demons, 232, n. 2. 
Demosthenes, 224, n. i. 
Dendrites, 225, 262. 
Denmark, 232, n. 2. 
Dennis, 258, n. 2. 
Deperet, 260, n. i. 

Deposits, alluvial, 263; marine, 172, 226. 
Descartes, 170, 179, 228. 
Devil-fishes, 257, n. i. 
Diamonds, 225, 246. 
Diels, 251, n. i. 

Dissertation, 181, 208, 215, 248, 254, 269, 276. 
Divination, 236. 
Divining rod, 173, 236, n. i. 
Dog's head, dissection of, 177. 
Dragon, 236. 

Drebell, Cornelius, 249, n. 2. 
Ducts, lymphatic, 222. 

Eagle, 224, n. i. 

Eagle-fish, teeth of, 257. 

Eagle-rays, 257, n. i. 

Eaglestone, 224, 224, n. i. 

Earth, productivity of, 212, 216, 217. 

Earthquakes, 173, 232, n. 2 ; 235, 269. 

Egypt, 210, n. I ; 268, n. I. 

Elba, 236, 244, n. i ; 262. 

Elements, chemical, 216 ; four, 216. 

Elephants, 174, 259. 

Elixir, 249, n. 2. 

Epicurus, 213, n. 2. 

Erasistratus, 222, n. 2. 

Eratosthenes, 210, n. i. 

Erosion, 268. 

Ethiopian, hue of, 252. 

Eutropius, 260, n. X . 

Euxine, outlet of, 210, n. I. 

Exhalations, 235. 

Eyelids, 221. 



Eyes, 221, 242. 
E]rsson, 177. 

Fabronius, 232, n. 2. 

Faces, of crystal, 239. 

Fat, 225. 

Femurs, 257, 259. 

Federighi, 271. 

Ferdinand II, collection of minerals, 246, n. i ; 
death of, 182 ; dedication to, 205 ; fossils 
found by, 260, n. i ; patron of Steno, 169, 
179, 180^ 207, 211, n. I. 

Fibres, of muscle, 222, 224, 225 ; of plants, 221, 

Fiesole, 259. 

Figures, explanation of, 272 ff. 

Filaments, of mineral, 224 ; in rocks, 256 ; in 
receiver, 242 ; of shells, 174, 250 f., 254. 

Filings, of iron, 241. 

Fire, agency in breaking up crystals, 243 ; agency 
in mountain formation, 232, n. 2 ; proof of in 
strata, 229 ; subterranean, 232, 266, 267. 

Fish, 253, 257. 

Fissures, containing crystals, 238 ; containing 
minerals, 218. 

Floods, 211, 229,258, 260, 269. 

Florence, Geologists' Congress in honor of Steno, 
186 ; fossils from Arezzo in, 260, n. i ; Steno's 
arrival in, 183 ; topography of, 173. 

Flourens, 182, n. 3. 

Fluid, aqueous, 219 ; common, 222, 223 ; de- 
fined, 222; differing from solid, 171 ; external, 
220, 221 : internal, 220, 221, 223 ; peculiar, 
223 ; penetrating, 217 ; permeating, 214, 221 ; 
petrifying, 256. 

Fontenelle, 208, n. 2. 

Foramina, of body, 221. 

Fossils, elephants, 260, n. i ; origin, 170, 173, 
200 ; from sea, 208, 208, n. 2 ; 210, 21 1. 

Frederik III, 181, 182, 208, n. i. 

Furnaces, 249, n. 2, 

FUrstenberg, von, 184. 

Galen, 222, n. 2. 
Galileo, 247, n. 2. 
Gases, subterranean, 231. 
Generation, spontaneous, 251, n. i. 
Genesis, 263, n. 3; 264, n. i, 2. 
Germany, silver in, 246. 
Gerra, 210, n. i. 
Giants, 258, n. i. 

Gibraltar, land passage at, 210, n. i. 
Glands, 207, 222. 

Glass, distinguished from crystal, 171; formation 
of, 243. 

Glossopelrae Melitenses, 211, 211, n. i. 

Gnomes, 232, n. 2. 

God, 216. 

Gold, 243, n. I. 

Golias, Jacob, 178. 

Goniometer, 171. 

Gori, 271. 

Granites, 225. 

Grafting, 215. 

Grass, in strata, 228. 

Greeks, 268. 

Griff enfeldt. Count, 178, 183. 

Growth, of crystals, 238; of mountains, 232. 

Gypsum, 218, n. i. 

Hamburg, 184. 

Hannibal, pack animals of, 174, 259, 260, n. i. 

Hannover, 182, n. i. 

Hardening, of crystals, 237; of solids, 218. 

Harvey, 222, n. 4; 251, n. i. 

Heart, 207. 

Heat, 232. 

Heiberg, 255, n. i. 

Hellespont, 210, n. i. 

Hematite, 244, n. i. 

Heraclitus, 205, n. 3. 

Herodotus, 268, n. i. 

Hesperian, sinking of, 198, n. 3. 

Hills, formation of, 232, n. 2; 263. 

Hippocrates, 223. 

Hoar-frost, 261. 

HoUand, religious tolerance in, 178, 180. 

Homer, 268, n. i. 

Hooke, Robert, 173, 197, 201. 

Hoover, 232, n. 2; 236, n. i. 

Horizontality, of strata, 172, 230. 

Home, Van, 178. 

Horns, 257. 

Hues, of crystals, 243; of pearls, 252; of shells, 

251, 254. 
Hughes, 176, n. i. 
Humboldt, A. von, 182, n. 3. 
Hungary, 232, n. 2. 
Huxley, 182, n. 3; 251, n. i. 

Ice, making, 215. 

Ida, 268, n. 2. 

Idols, 236. 

Iliad, 268, n. 2. 

Ilios, 268, n. 2. 

Incrustations, growth of, 220, 224; on solids, 226. 

India, 246. 

Innsbruck, 182. 

Insects, 256. 

Interstices, in body, 214. 



Intestines, 221. 

Iron, cubes of, 225 ; of Elba, 236 ; growth of, 

236; n. 3; figures of crystals of, 273; filings 

of, 241, 242. 
Irradiations, 237. 
Italy, 269. 

Jacobaeus, Matthias, 178. 

Johann Friedrich, Duke of Hannover, 183, 184. 

Kidneys, 222, n. 2. 

Kircher, Athanasius, 180, 182, n. 2 ; 234, n. I ; 

236, n. I. 
Knorr, 211, n. i. 

Laboulb^ne, 224, n. 2. 

Labyrinth, 206. 

Lake Sirbonis, 210, n. i. 

Lamellibranch, 256, n. i. * 

Lapilli, 231. 

Lapis lazuli, 218. 

Laws, of nature, 215. 

Layers, deposition of, 226, 227 ; mineral layers 

in rivers, 228 ; of rock, 226. 
Lefebure, 205, n. 3. 
Leibnitz, 182, n. i ; 211, n. i. 
Lernsean Hydra, 206. 
Leyden, 178. 

Libya, connected with Europe, 210, n. I. 
Limonite, 236, n. 3. 
Linnaeus, 187. 
Lithodomus, 256, n. i. 
Lithophagus, 256, n. i. 
Littre, 243, n. i. 
Liver, 222, n. 2. 
Livy, 260, n. I. 
Load-stone, see Magnet. 
Lucca, 180. 
Lucullus, 253. 
Lungs, 222, n. 2. 
Lustre, in crystals, 240. 
Lydia, 266. 
Lymphatic ducts, 222. 

Maar, I75> n. i; 178, n. i, 2; 179, n. 2; 182, 
n. 2; 188 ff., 195, 197, 198, n. 2, 3; 202, 
206, n. I ; 207, n. 5 ; 211, n. i ; 222, n. i ; 
222, n. 3 ; 223, n. i ; 224, n. 2 ; 226, n. 2 ; 
232, n. I, 2 ; 234, n. i ; 236, n. i, 2 ; 246, 
n. 3; 255, n. I. 

Magalotti, Lorenzo, 180. 

Magnet, 170; filings about, 241, 242; lines of 
force, 171. 

Maillet, de, 169. 

Major, Forsythe, 260, n. i. 

Malta, Bartholin's journey in, 211, n. i ; stones 
from, 211, n. i ; teeth from, 257. 

Manni, 184. 

Marbles, 225. 

Marcasites, cubes of, 225 ; formation of crystals 
of, 247 ff . ; hardening in, 218; enclosed in 
solid, 218; = pyrites, 218, n. i. 

Maria Flavia del Nero, 180. 

Marine deposits, 172, 210. 

Matiana, 210, n. i. 

Matrix, of crystals, 238. 

Matter, constitution of, 216 ; surrounding mussels, 

Maurits, Count Jan, 232, n. i. 

Maximilian Heinrich, 184. 

Maxims of Morality, 214. 

Medici, Leopold de', 180, 209, n. I. 

Mediterranean, 210, n. i ; 265, 269. 

Medulla, 225. 

Melina, 256, n. i. 

Membrane, dividing, 222. 

Menstruum, 243, 243, n. i. 

Mercury, 218, 243, n. I ; tree, 261, 262. 

Metals, growth of, 232, n. 2. 

Metamorphism, 255, n. i. 

Microscope, 256. 

Mineral, replacements of, 173; repositories of, 
235 ff. ; veins of, 173. 

Minerals, formation of, 261 ; enclosed in bodies, 
218 ; origin of, 235 f. 

Miners, 236. 

Mines, 232, n. 2. 

Molars, 257, n. I. 

Molecules, orientation of, 171. 

MoUusks, bivalve, 256, 257, 258 ; petrified, 225, 
226 ; produced by Nature, 217 ; shells of, 249 
ff.; structure of, 173. 

Monardes, 246, n. 3. 

Montanari, 232, n. 2. 

Moss, 262. 

Motion, artificial, 215 ; of crystalline matter, 241 ; 
determination of, 214 f., 216 ; first cause of, 
215 ; of particles in fluids, 249 ; principle of, 
perception of, 214. 

Mountains, causes of, 173 ; chains of, 234 ; crests 
of, 234 ; crystals of, 219 ; under deluge, 264 ; 
growth of, 232, 232, n. 2 ; origin of, 231 ff.; 
overthrown, 234 ; overwhelmed, 263 ; of scrip- 
ture, 265 ; types of, 173 ; upheaval of, 228. 

Mount Casius, 210, n. I. 

Mouth, 221. 

Movements, in crystal, 242 ; of fluid forming mar- 
casites, 248. 

Munster, 184. 

Murano, 182. 



Morchison, 234, n. 2. 

Muscle, fibres, 222. 

Muscles, Steno's work on, 208 ; substance of, 222. 

Musgrave, George, 232, n. i. 

Mussels, 241 ; pearl*bearing, 255 ; substance in 

bivalve, 253. 
Myliobatidse, 257, n. i. 
Myths, 267, 269. 
Mytilidse, 256, n. i. 

Naples, 182, 253, n. 1 ; 256. 

Natural Questions, solution of, 210, 213. 

Nature, Laws of, 214 ; products of, 215, 216, 217 ; 

unknown, 217. 
Needham, 176, n. 2. 
Nepheline, 255, n. i. 
Nephiri, 255, 255, n. I. 
Nephrite, 255, n. i. 
Nile, 268, n. I. 

Nilsdatter, Anna, 178, n. 3 ; 207, n. 4. 
Niter, crystals of, 219. 
Nose, 221. 

Odyssey, 180, 268, n. i. 

(Esophagus, 221. 

Oldenburg, Henry, 197, 199 ff. 

Onyx, 224. 

Orange, 220. 

Organs, excretory, 221. 

Ostrea, 256, n. i. 

Ovum, 222. 

Oysters, 210, n. i; 241, 251, 255. 

Palissy, Bernard, 208, n. 2; 224, n. i. 

Panchina, 258, n. 2. 

Parenchymata, 222, 224. 

Parotid duct, 176. 

Particles, added to a solid, 226 f.; changeable, 

216; growth of, 220, 221; motion of, 214, 216. 
Passageways, for things issuing from the earth, 

234 f. 
Paulli, Jacob Henry. 177. 
Paulli, Simon, 176. 
Pearls, formation of, 252; imitation of, 252; in 

mussels, 255; structure of, 174. 
Pectens, 256. 
Pectin, 256. n. i. 
Pedersen, 175, 178, n. 3. 
Peduncle, 220. 
Pelusium, 210, n. i. 
Penetrating fluid, 241. 
Pepys, Samuel, 197, n. i. 
Peripatetics, 213, n. 2; 214. 
Peru, 236. 
Phrygia, 210, n. i. 

Pine cones, in strata, 228. 

Pinna, 255. 

Pisa, 255, n. I. 

Piso, Willem, 232, n. i. 

Pitti Palace, 182, 246, n. 2. 

Place, definition of term, 219; place of crystal 
formation, 237; of production, 217. 

Plains, 267. 

Planes, of crystals of hematite, 244, 245; of 
crystals of quartz, 237, 239; of diamonds, 246; 
of marcasites, 248. 

Plants, anatomy of, 221; fibrous parts of, 225; 
fossil, 226, 260 f. ; formation of, 221 ; enclosed 
in solid, 218; metallic, 225; place of, 219; 
roots of, 220. 

Plato, 222, n. 4; 268, n. 2; 269, n. 3. 

Pleistocene, 260, n. I. 

Plenkers, 175, 175, n. i; 178, n. i; 178, n. 3; 
179, n. 2; 180 f.; 180, n. 2; 183, 184, 185, 
188, 211, n. I. 

Pliny, 211, n. i; 224, n. i; 253, n. i. 

Plutarch, 253, n. i. 

Poisoner, 224, n. i. 

Polybius, 260, n. I. 

Pompeius, 253, n. i. 

Pontus, 210, n. I. 

Pope Innocent XI, 184. 

Pores, 221, 223, 253. 

Porta all' Arco, 258, n. 2. 

Prague, 182. 

Pregnancy, 224, n. i. 

Prism, 237. 

Prodromus, bibliography of, 194 ff. ; date of com- 
position, i8x; division of subjects, 170; geo- 
metrical form of, 170; science of, 169; scope 
of, 181 f.; use of word, 181, n. 3; translation 
of, 205 ff. 

Production, of diamonds, 246; of hematite, 244; 
of substances, 216. 

Propontis, 210, n. i. 

Pumice stone, in strata, 229. 

Pyramids, of crystal, 237, 239; of hematite, 245. 

Pyrites, 218, n. i; 248, n. i. 

Quartz, 218, n. i; chemical constitution of, 219, 
n. I ; = crystals, 220, n. i ; 237, n. i ; 245, 
n. 3. 

Quicksand, 235. 

Rabelais, 205, n. 3. 

Rains, 229, 232, 267. 

Ray, 232, n. i; 257, n. I. 

Receiver, 242. 

Redi, Francesco, 180, 181, 251, n. i; 271. 

Red Sea, passage to, 269. 



EiAMwHmi, of light, 171 ; in glass, 243. 

Replacements, 220, 225. 

Repositories, of minerals, 235 f. 

Reservoirs, 234, 266. 

Retort, 242. 

Rivers, agency in mountain formation, 232, n. 2; 

changed by earthquake, 235; deposits of, 267; 

gifts of, 268. 
Rocks, 172. 

Rome, 182, 229, 258, 259. 
Rome de Tlsle, 171. 
Roots, of plants, 220. 
Rose, Valentine, 224, n. i. 
Rosnel, de, 236, n. 2 ; 246, n. 3. 
Rush, in strata, 228. 

Salisbury, 255, n. i. 

Salivary duct, 177. 

Salt, deposit of, 228. 

Salt-water lakes, 210, n. i. 

Sand, layers of, 228. 

Sandstone, 258, n. 2. 

San Lorenzo, 185, 186. 

Santa Maria Nuova, 179, 180. 

Sap, of earth, 232, n. 2. 

Sardinia, 210, n. i. 

Savignani, Emilio, 180. 

Scallop shells, 210, n. i. 

Scandinavia, 184. 

Scapulae, 259. 

Schmidt, Waldmar, 186 f. 

Schumacher, Peter, see Griffenfeldt. 

Schwerin, 185. 

Scripture, 263, 264, 265, 266, 267. 

Sea, 173, 228, 265. 

Sea-devils, 257, n. i. 

Secretions, 223, 226, n. i. 

Sediments, 172, 206, 220, 227, 229. 

Selenites, 218, 218, n. i ; 249. 

Seneca, 206, n. 2 ; 213, n. 2. 

Septarium, 255, n. i. 

Serpentine, 255, n. i. 

Shark, teeth of, 206, 207, 211, 211, n. i; 251, 

Sheep's head, dissection of, 177. 

Shells, crystalline, 218 ; in earth, 253 ; helical, 
256 ; of marine animals, 226 ; of mollusks, 
173, 250 f. ; petrified, 218 ; porous, 254. 

Ships, in deposits, 228. 

Sicily, 210, n. i ; 256. 

Silver, 218, 246. 

Skeletons, 260, n. i. 

Skin, 221. 

Slipping, of strata, 231. 

Solid, addition to, 220; contained within solid. 

170, 208 ; differs from fluid, 214 ; dug from 
earth, 226 ; hardening of, 218 ; production of, 
209, 218, 220, 224, 226. 

Solon, 268, n. I. 

Soul, vrorld, 216; agency of, 217. 

Speculation, 170. 

Spinoza, Baruch, 178, 184, n. i. 

Spleen, 222, n. i. 

Springs, 229, 235, 266. 

Steno, life of, 175 ff.; writings of, 188 £; bibliog- 
raphy on, 202 f. 

Stichman, Johannes, 207, n. 4. 

Stiermark, 232, n. 2. 

Stoics, 213, n. 2 ; 214. 

Stokes, 225, n. i. 

Stomach, 221. 

Stones, 235 f. 

Storms, 229. 

Strabo, 210, n. i ; 268, n. I ; 268, n. 2. 

Strata, alterations of, 234 ; deposition of, 172, 
227 ff. ; fissures in, 173 ; horizontality of, 172 ; 
manner and place of production, 219 ; order of, 
173; slipping of, 266 ; thrusts of, 173 ; in Tus- 
cany, 262 ff., 273 ; variation in character of, 

Strato, 210, n. i. 

Striation, in crystals, 239, 240 ; in hematite, 244, 
246 ; in marcasites, 247, 248. 

Substance, crystalline, 225 ; place and manner 
of production, 170; tenuous, 216. 

Sulphur, 232. 

Sun, 216, 217. 

Swammerdam, Jan, 178, 251, n. I. 

Sylvius, 177, 178, 179. 

Talc, 249, 249, n. 2. 

Tamagninus, 271. 

Targioni, 260, n. i. 

Taygetus, 232, n. 2. 

Teeth, of sharks, 21 1, 257 ; eagle-fish, 257 ; from 

Malta, 257. 
Telliamed, see de Maillct, 169. 
Tendons, 225. 
Testacea, 251, 253, 256. 
Theatrum Anatomicum, 183. 
Thera, 232, n. 2. 
Therasia, 232, n. 2. 
Thevenot, 178, 179. 
Thrusts, 231. 
Tiber, 260, n. i, 269. 
Time, evolution of, 258. 
Titian, 205, n. 3. 
Titopolis, 184. 

Tolerance, religious tolerance in Holland, 178. 
Tongue stones, 211, n. i. 



Tools, of miners, 236. 

Tosini, 271. 

Tozzetti, 255, n. i; 260, n, i. 

Trachea, 221. 

Traditions, of early civilization, 268, n. 2. 

Trasumene Lake, 259. 

Trebia, 260, n. I. 

Trees, in strata, 228. 

Trigautius, 236, n. i. 

Triptolemus, 269. 

Truth, proverb of Truth in a well, 205, n. 3. 

Tuff, 220. 

Tuscany, geological changes in, 170, 209, 234, 

n. 2 ; 262 ff., 269, 276; fossils in, 260, n. I ; 

265, 266 , pearl-bearing mussels from, 255. 
Tylor, 258, n. i. 

Ulysses, 269. 

Umbilical vessels, 220. 

Urethra, 221. 

Usher, chronology of, 174, 266, n. i ; 269, n. i. 

Uterus, 221, 222. 

Valleys, 232, n. 2; 265, 267. 
Valmont-Bomare, 224, n. 2. 
Vapors, subterranean, 229. 
Vegetatio, 232, n. 2. 
Veins, 222; in rocks, 225. 
Vertebrae, of fishes, 257. 
Vienna, 182. 

Vinci, Leonardo da, 169, 173. 
Virtus formativa, 211, n. i. 

Viscera, 225. 

Vitriol, 243. 

Viviani, Vincenzo, 169, 179, 180, 181. 

Volcanoes, 172. 

Volterra, shells in, 174; walls of, 258, 259. 

Walchs, 211, n. i. 

Water, agency in mountain formation, 232, n. 2; 

in crystals, 238; deposits of turbid water, 219; 

issuing from earth, 234. 
Weld, 197, n. I. 

Well, proverb of Truth in, 205, n. 3. 
Wells, 235. 

Wharton, 176, n. 5; 177. 
White, 249, n. 2. 
Wichfeld, 175, n. i; 178, n. i; 179, n. 2; 255, 

n. I. 
W^illis, 179. 
Wind, agency in mountain formation, 232, n. 2; 

breaking from mountain, 234 f. 
Winslow, Jacques Benigne, 178, n. 4. 
Winter, 197. 
Woodward, 266, n. I. 
Wood worth, 198. 
Worms, 221, 255, 256. 
Wren, 197, n. I. 

Xanthus, 210, n. i. 
Xerxes, 253, n. i. 

Zittel, von, 182, 204, 256, n. i. 

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By W. WARDE FOWLER. M.A., Fellow and Sub-Rector of Lincoln College, 

This book covers in a concise form almost all phases of the public worship of the 
Roman state, as well as certain ceremonies which, strictly speaking, lay outside that 
public worship. It will be found very useful to students of Roman literature and his- 
tory as well as to students of anthropology and the history of religion. 

Cloth y $1,30 


By A. H. J. GREENIDGE, Late Lecturer in Hertford College and Brasenose 
College, Oxford. 

The growth of the Roman constitution and its working during the developed Republic 
and the Principate is the su!)ject which Mr. Grcenidge here set for himself. All im- 
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political genius of the Romans in connection with the chief problems of administration. 

Cloth^ $2.30 


By WALTER LOWRIE. M.A., Late Fellow of the American School of Classical 
Studies in Rome, Rector of St. Paul's Church, Rome. 

Nearly two hundred photographs and drawings of the most representative monumental 

remains of Christian antiquity, accompanied by detailed expositions, make this volume 

replete with interest for the general reader and at the same time useful as a hand-book 

for the student of Christian archaeology in all its branches. 

Illustrated. Cloth^ $1.50 


By ARTHUR L. FROTHINGHAM, Ph.D., Sometime Associate Director of the 
American School of Classical Studies in Rome, and formerly Professor of Archae- 
ology and Ancient History in Princeton University. 

"The plan of the volume is simple and admirable. The first part comprises a histor- 
ical sketch ; the second, a classification of the monuments.'' — T/ie Outlook. 

Illustrated, Clothy $2.23 



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